Okla. Securities Commission Names Top Investor Traps

Article excerpt

Beware the investment that sounds too good to be true, say Oklahoma securities regulators.

"The path to safe investing is littered with traps that are likely to catch unsuspecting investors," said Irving Faught, administrator of the Oklahoma Securities Commission. "Any investment that sounds too good to be true usually is."

On Monday, the commission released its annual forecast of the Top 10 Investor Traps, which ranges from outright scams and cons to investments that might be good for some, but not all, investors.

"Investor traps are typically baited with slick sales pitches promising high returns for little or no risk," Faught said. "Make sure that any claims made for an investment are realistic and are not pie in the sky."

Faught also urged Oklahomans to make sure that the salesman and investment are both registered with the commission, and that they receive adequate written information explaining the investment.

Based on a list compiled by the North American Securities Administrators Association, the agency's top 10 investor trips, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

* Affinity fraud: Scammers targeting religious, professional and other groups, often through an organization member, promoting fraudulent investments, many of which turn out to be illegal Ponzi schemes.

lForeign exchange trading: Although this can be a legitimate path for governments, businesses concerned about international-currency fluctuations and some savvy individual investors, average investors should be wary of delving into these complex markets, due to their lack of understanding.

* Internet fraud: From "pump and dump" stock schemes to investment pitches via unsolicited e-mails and phony Web sites, the Web continues to be a popular route for scammers to empty investors' pockets. …