The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a statement Monday to investors, warning that the agency has experienced “a significant uptick in tips, complaints, and referrals involving investment scams.”
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy urged investors to be on “high alert” for fraudsters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency warned against “frauds like Ponzi schemes, fake CD scams, bogus stock promotions, and community-based financial scams.”
The SEC wasn’t clear in the extent of the increase in fraud complaints or current investigations.
Recently, we noted a California man, involved in a $35 million Ponzi scheme, fled police in a daring escape on a submersible scooter. He was later arrested.
Maryland’s “next Bernie Madoff” was sentenced in October to 22-years in jail for the largest-ever Ponzi scheme in the state’s history.
According to the FTC analysis, the reported median individual loss on investment scams is around $16,000.
Baby boomers, hunting for yield, are more likely to be tricked into investment scams, typically, on average, losing around $24,000.
While tens of millions of Americans struggle with job loss, food, and housing insecurity, some households have turned to easy ways to make money, such as high-return investment schemes and or panic buying shares of companies with questionable balance sheets.
… and of course, social media responded.