Our willingness to innovate is attracting attention, and sometimes from all the wrong people. Con artists have jumped on the crowd sourcing bandwagon and it’s now one of the latest financial scams.
As you may know, crowd sourcing is a great way to fund a project, or get work done by putting out the word to a large number of people online. But it is also at the top of the list of the North American Securities Administrators Association’s financial scams.
Inappropriate advice from investment advisers is second on the list followed by scam artists encouraging you to put money into self-directed IRA’s that turn out to be frauds. The IRA scams mask schemes that often go undetected for a long time because we tend to let our money sit in IRA’s to avoid early withdrawal penalties.
Scammers also use the Immigrant Investor Program to bilk investors. The legitimate program offers visas to immigrants who invest over $500,000 in a new project. Sounds great. But some fraudsters get investors and even cities and local governments to cough up money for bogus projects with the promise that foreign cash is on the way. And in those cases, the foreign money never arrives.
Gold and precious metals scams continue to be high on the list.
Risky oil and gas drilling schemes are next.
Promissory notes, or investments in private loan agreements, fraudulent real estate schemes, and investments in so-called private placements regularly lure investors into financially destructive schemes.
Here’s the warning from Jack E. Herstein, NASAA President and Nebraska’s Assistant Director of Banking and Finance, Bureau of Securities, “Investors should insist on working only with licensed brokers and investment advisers in dealing with both traditional and alternative securities investments…”