News Release

Corporation Commission Joins Task Force - Cracking Down on COVID-19 Investment Scams

For Immediate Release | 05-06-20
Media Contact | Nicole Capone
Direct |  602-542-0713
 

PHOENIX–The Corporation Commission announced today that it has joined an international enforcement task force organized by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to investigate fraudsters looking to capitalize during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are proud to join our colleagues in NASAA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force,” Chairman Bob Burns said. “Investment schemes related to COVID-19 are a significant threat to investors in Arizona, and fraudsters need to know the Corporation Commission is dedicated to protecting investors from COVID-19 investment fraud. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." 

The agency is a member of NASAA, the membership organization of state and provincial securities regulators in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Consisting of state and provincial securities regulators, the task force was formed to identify and stop potential threats to investors stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Task force members use online investigative techniques to identify websites and social media posts that may be offering unregistered or fraudulent investment programs.

To assist in protecting investors from COVID-19 investment scams, the Corporation Commission urges the public to report any investment offerings connected to the current pandemic. Investors who are solicited to invest or suspect they fell victim to a COVID-19 related investment scam can contact an Investigator on Duty by telephone at 602-542-0662 or by email, SecuritiesDiv@azcc.gov.

Reporting suspicious COVID-19 related investment offers is important to help the Corporation Commission’s Securities Division investigate and prosecute illegal activities and protect our citizens from falling victim to a financial fraud in these unprecedented times.

A critical component of fighting fraud is investor awareness. To help investors identify common signs of possible investment fraud, the Corporation Commission suggests three questions to ask before making a new investment.

First, is the investment being offered with a guaranteed high return with little or no risk? All investments carry risk that you may potentially lose some or all of your money. Anyone who says their investment offer has no risk is lying. No one can guarantee an investment return.

Second, is there a sense of urgency or limited availability of detailed information surrounding the investment?  If someone offers you a “can’t miss” investment opportunity and pressures you to invest right now, don’t be afraid to walk away.

Third, is the investment promoter and offering registered with a securities regulator? For the same reasons you wouldn’t go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist, you should avoid unregistered investment salespeople and their products.

For more information on wise investing and investment fraud prevention, visit www.azcc.gov/azinvestor.

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About us:
The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state’s constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The Corporation Commission is Arizona’s co-equal, fourth branch of government. The five Commissioners elected to the Corporation Commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its Commissioners, visit http://azcc.gov

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