The Idaho Department of Finance announced today it is participating in the COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force to crack down on schemes related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As part of this coordinated enforcement effort, the Department has dedicated staff and resources to investigating scams related to COVID-19 and reported those results to The North American Securities Administrators Association. With 111 investigators representing 44 jurisdictions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the COVID-19 Task Force represents the largest coordinated enforcement initiative undertaken by state and provincial securities regulators. So far, the task force has disrupted more than 200 schemes related to the pandemic. Many of the schemes detected by the task force incorporate fear and anxiety into their pitches by promoting safe returns independent of the stock market and the economy. Others offer unrealistic and guaranteed high rates of return. Many promoters refer to returns as “passive income” or “cash flow” and promise to pay it on a monthly basis. This is a tactic meant to appeal to unemployed investors or victims who are, or may be in the future, negatively impacted by changes in the economy.
There are various ways to protect yourself from fraud: Make sure the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, is properly licensed or registered. You can easily check by contacting the Idaho Department of Finance. Additionally, don’t fall for claims of guaranteed returns or unreasonably high rates of return. To report a suspected investment scam, or for more information on how to protect yourself from investment fraud, contact the Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Idaho Department of Finance)