Florida Story Archive

OFR Announces Top Investor Threats for 2021

MARCH 9, 2021 — Tallahassee, Fla. – The Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) today reminded investors to be on the lookout for investment schemes pitched through the internet and social media, particularly those involving precious metals, cryptocurrencies, promissory notes and foreign exchange markets.

Schemes related to these products were identified as the top threats facing investors this year in a survey by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which OFR is a member. The survey includes responses of enforcement officials with state and provincial securities regulators throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The survey found fraudulent internet- or social media-based frauds as the top threat to investors. Ranked second are cryptocurrency-related and precious metals-based investments, especially those purchased through self-directed individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which lack the services and protection of traditional IRAs and can be fertile soil for scammers. Foreign exchange-related schemes rounded out the top three threats. In particular, enforcement officials expect to see a resurgence of high-yield foreign exchange and cryptocurrency-related schemes targeting investors this year disguised as membership or investment programs.

The NASAA survey also indicated that 82 percent of state and provincial securities regulators anticipate that bad actors will continue to attempt to leverage investor fear and anxiety related to changes in financial markets and the economy due to COVID-19 to illegally sell securities this year.

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