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Commerce department warns of fraudulent investments

Posted by: Kelly Smith under Scams, Seniors Updated: February 2, 2012 - 2:50 PM
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is warning consumers to be cautious of fraudulent investments in light of the Federal Reserve's announcement that interest rates will likely remain low until late 2014. Those low interest rates could spur more scammers promising higher returns and lower risk to people on fixed incomes -- particularly seniors.
 
“Anyone promising high yield or high returns with little or no risk should be approached with a high degree of skepticism," Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement.
 
From the news release, the department gave these tips to investors: 
•       Does this investment sound too good to be true? Use common sense and get a professional, third-party opinion when presented with investment opportunities that seem to offer unusually high returns in comparison to other investment options.
 
•       Did you have enough time to make the decision?  Ask for written information that fully explains the investment. The documentation should contain enough clear and accurate information to allow you or your investment adviser to evaluate and verify the particulars of the investment.
 
•       Were you given confidential, “inside information”, or a limited offer?  These phrases are often used in fraudulent investments to encourage a quick investment decision.
 
•       Are the seller and investment licensed and registered in Minnesota? The Commerce Department can tell you if they are. If they are not, they may be operating illegally.
 
Reach the department either by the consumer help line at (651) 296-2488 or (800) 657-3602, by e-mail at consumer.protecion@state.mn.us or by mail at 85, 7th Place East, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55101.

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