Beware of COVID-19-Related Investment Scams Warns California Attorney General

Press release from the State of California Department of Justice:

California Attorney General logoCalifornia Attorney General Xavier Becerra and California Commissioner of Business Oversight Manuel P. Alvarez today issued an alert about investment scams related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Investors should be wary of claims that companies have developed cures or vaccines for coronavirus or can supply medical equipment which is in short supply, like masks, gloves, or ventilators. These are red flags that an investment could be a scam. For example, the FBI recently arrested an individual for soliciting investments and claiming to have a cure for coronavirus. Investors should carefully research companies and claims, as well as broker-dealers and investment advisors, before investing any money.

“Fraudsters may try to take advantage of the current pandemic by claiming miracle cures or solutions to medical equipment shortages,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Investors should beware of any investment claiming to address the COVID-19 crisis. Before you relinquish your hard-earned money, fully investigate the companies and people involved. Better to research than regret.”

“In times of crisis, bad actors often prey upon investors who are especially concerned about their finances,” said Commissioner Alvarez. “California investors should be particularly careful and wary of investments related to the coronavirus.” The Attorney General and the Commissioner encourage anyone who has either been the victim of an investment scam or who otherwise has information about an investment scam to immediately file a report through http://oag.ca.gov/report or https://docqnet.dbo.ca.gov/complaint/.

California’s Corporate Securities Law prohibits the use of misrepresentations in the purchase and sale of securities. California’s Commodities Law prohibits the use of misrepresentations in the purchase and sale of commodities. Violations can result in criminal and civil liability, with penalties of up to five years in prison and a $10,000,000 fine for criminal violations and a $25,000 penalty per violation for civil liability.

Investors can research whether an individual has been the subject of an enforcement action by either the Securities and Exchange Commission or California’s Department of Business Oversight (DBO) using the SEC’s Action Lookup – Individuals and DBO’s database of actions, orders, and administrative hearings. Investors can also use the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck to find out the licensing and registration status and disciplinary history of broker-dealers. To check the licensing and registration status of investment advisers, investors can use the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD). Investors can use the National Futures Association’s (NFA) Background Affiliation Status Information Center (BASIC) to research the licensing and registration status and disciplinary history of commodities brokers.

For information about other coronavirus-related scams, please see Attorney General Becerra’s consumer alerts regarding fraudulent charities and false advertising. For the latest in coronavirus preparedness, information, and response, please visit the websites of the California Department of Public Health, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, and Office of Emergency Services. If you are a worker or employer who has been affected by COVID-19, you can find guidance and resources on the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s website.

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8 comments

  • Save your hard earned money, the government is going to need it. Anyone else notice how the government can’t even stop a telemarketer, or have any supplies in pandemic but they like to pretend like they are in control?

  • Vote Blue and get rid of the biggest Fraudster in the US, our Fake President*.

  • Bernie’s out, so now you get to pick a red narcissist or a blue dementia. Yay, go colors!

    • Yeah, not happy about it. Is this all America has to offer, two old white dottering idiots? Pretty pathetic.

  • Few of us voters want a responsible government. We act like money grows on trees- which I suspect is the world politicians live in. But sooner or later, blight happens and bills come due. But in the mean time it is all why worry. Spend without even checking to see what has been bought with the money. California is no different- it brags about a reserve that will not cover a tenth of the bills it owes and devises financial bonds to obligate itself for ever more.

    • A man who used to work in government once that government is a cancer, it’s only goal is to consume and expand with no regard for the host. Greed is bad unless youre in politics or government.

  • CALPERS lost 69 billion a week or to ago to add to the 1 trillionish in unfunded pension liability. This bailout which benifits corporations and people are worried will tank the economy has the same amount of zeros as our actual deficit. Not our nations, California’s. But we’re leafing the nation, in unfunded pension liability and that is it

  • 🕯🌳”Not my potus “….🖖🇺🇸

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