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State agency reminds investors to beware of con artists in light of coronavirus

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In light of developments related to the COVID-19, and its impact on financial markets, the Regulation and Licensing Department’s Securities Division is reminding investors in New Mexico to beware of con artists seeking to capitalize on fear and uncertainty.

“Never make an investment decision without understanding what you are investing in, who you are doing business with, where your money is going, how it will be used, and how you can get it back,” Department Superintendent Marguerite Salazar said in a recent press release.

Salazar also said investors should be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the market downturn and COVID-19 to scare investors into so-called “safer, guaranteed investments.”

“If you have concerns about your retirement accounts or investments, talk to your financial professional,” Salazar said. “Avoid making decisions based on panic or fear.”

To help investors identify common telltale signs of possible investment fraud, the Securities Division suggests these three questions to ask:

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• 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.

• Is there a sense of urgency or limited availability surrounding the investment? If the offer is legitimate, it will be there later.

• Is the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, properly licensed or registered? For the same reasons you wouldn’t go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist, you should avoid unregistered investment salespeople and their products.

Salazar added, “Make sure you have all the facts before you hand your money over to someone else to invest. I also encourage investors to contact the Securities Division with any questions about the investment professional they are working with or the product being offered.”

Those with questions can call 800-704-5533, or visit redflagsnm.com, according to the press release.

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