Just before the holidays, the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation issued a Press Release describing what they believe are the new products in classic schemes identified as top emerging threats for investors in 2015.
According to OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear, we are seeing classic investor threats morph into new or altered dangers, many involving the internet. Encompassing each of these threats are unlicensed individuals selling unregistered products to unsuspected investors.
This is where we at the Coleman Law Firm can’t emphasize enough for investors to do some investigation or due diligence before handing over their hard earned savings to something that sounds too good to be true. Due diligence would include determining if the individual or company pitching their sale is registered with the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Association) which can be found at www.finra.org. There is an easy to find box on their home page where you can perform a broker check. Even if you have determined they ARE a registered broker dealer, it is important that you review that report for indications of prior customer complaints or regulatory issues. Another resource for checking out a potential investment would be with the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR). You can find more information about the OFR at www.flofr.com.
The Enforcement Section of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which the Office of Financial Regulation is a member, has compiled the following list of investments that threaten unwary investors.
- Marijuana Industry Investments
- Stream of Income Investments
- Digital Currency and Cybersecurity Risks
- Binary Options
- Fraudulent Private Placement Offerings
- Pyramid and other Ponzi Schemes
- Real Estate Schemes (including those using promissory notes)
- Online Fraud (including crowd funding and social media)
- Gas & Oil in the Fracking Era
To quote Mr. Breakspear, it pays to investigate before you invest.
The Coleman Law Firm does not provide investment advice but can assist you if you have any additional questions on how to determine if an individual or firm is properly registered.