September 6, 2005
ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN ADVISES INVESTORS TO BEWARE
OF HURRICANE-RELATED SCAMS
In the wake of widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina
in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, Attorney General
J. Joseph Curran, Jr. today warned investors to beware of opportunistic
investment scams. "Bottom-feeding con artists always try to
find ways to exploit tragic headlines to cash in on unsuspecting
investors," said Curran.
In the aftermath of last week’s tragedies, investors should
be patient and cautious when making decisions about their investments
or finances," he said, noting that cold-calling telephone
salespeople, advertisements, or Internet postings that tout investment
pools or bonds to help hurricane victims, or supposed water-removal
or purification technologies and electricity-generating devices
should be a red flag for investors.
Curran also urged investors to watch out for oil-and-gas scams
given the current oil prices and the prospects of even higher
prices following Katrina’s destructive path through Gulf of Mexico
oil fields and refineries.
Recalling that many con artists exploited fears associated with
the September 11th terrorist attacks and the Year 2000 computer
bug to promote investments in precious metals, emergency preparedness
scams and non-existent technology companies, Curran urged investors
• Hang up on aggressive cold callers promoting hurricane-related or oil-and-gas
investments, and ignore unsolicited e-mail or Internet messages discussing small
companies with new hurricane-related technologies or products.
• Request written information that fully explains the investment.
• Use common sense. Pie-in-the-sky promises often signal investment fraud.
• Contact the Maryland Securities Division at 410-576-6360 to check that
both the seller and investment are licensed and registered. If not, they may
be operating illegally.