Resolutions for 2015

~ By Gerald Rome, Colorado Securities Commissioner ~

Gerald Rome, Securities Commissioner

Gerald Rome, Securities Commissioner

A new year is upon us, with all of its accompanying resolutions. If you are like most people, you are probably evaluating various aspects of your life and deciding how to improve in 2015. Maybe you are going to eat fewer sweets or walk on a daily basis. It’s also possible that you are reevaluating your financial health and deciding what to do with your money. If so, that’s great news as we have some sound advice for you. Our national organization recently released its annual list of financial products and practices that threaten to trap unwary investors – by taking advantage of investors troubled by lingering economic uncertainty and volatile stock markets. Con artists follow the news and seek ways to exploit the headlines to their advantage while leaving investors holding an empty bag. Here are some risky investments that you should think twice about before investing.

Marijuana Investments – The legalization of marijuana, both medical and recreational, is generating headlines and great interest across the country. In turn, this has grabbed the attention of investors looking to capitalize on the high potential of this new market. Many promoters have seized the opportunity to market and sell investments in the industry, including investments in companies that provide products and services to the industry. Unfortunately, these investments have turned out to be particularly risky.

Stream-of-Income Investments – Investors looking for monthly returns are being enticed to invest by companies that introduce investors to individuals selling a stream of income, such as pension payments or disability benefits. These carry significant risks because laws may prohibit the assignment of the benefits, and investors may be left with an unenforceable contract. Additionally, veterans and disabled persons are frequently preyed upon to assign their benefits when they experience financially stressful times.

Bitcoin – Digital currencies, such as Bitcoins, are emerging as a popular way of paying for goods and services. The price paid for Bitcoins increased rapidly in 2013, and the rapid increase sparked considerable public interest. This created a fresh market for securities offerings related to digital currencies. Unfortunately, shady promoters seized the opportunity to offer illegal securities tied to digital currencies, but even legitimate offerings may present considerable risk to investors.

These new investments only highlight a few of the schemes that plague investors. Please remain vigilant and if you feel suspicious about an opportunity, don’t hesitate to contact the Colorado Division of Securities at 303-894-2320. I hope that 2015 brings you much financial success and happiness!

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