The Minnesota Department of Commerce urged consumers last week to research investment offers and services before making their investments. 

The department said the recent lifting of an 80-year old ban on advertising of private offerings has the potential to lead to greater abuse.

"This is a reminder for investors that whether using a new crowdfunding portal or an accredited investor aggregator, it is important to do your due diligence and to understand the risks involved when using an unregulated third party," the department said in a statement released last week.

The department also released an updated list of top threats to investors and small businesses, compiled by the North American Security Administrators Association.

Here are the top investment schemes for 2013, according to the NASAA:

Persistent Threats

  • Private offerings
  • Real estate investment schemes
  • High-yield investment and Ponzi schemes
  • Affinity fraud
  • Scam artists using self-directed IRAs to mask fraud
  • Risky oil and gas drilling programs

New Investor Threats

  • Proxy trading accounts
  • Digital currency

New Small Business Threats

  • Capital-raising pitfalls
  • Unregulated third-party service providers

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