The SEC is warning investors to beware of financial scams related to the coronavirus.
Most recently, Erin Schneider, director of the SEC’s San Francisco Region Office, joined in a tele-townhall to help investors stay informed and protect themselves. Also participating were Chuck Harwood, western regional director of the Federal Trade Commission; Bill Beatty, securities administrator of the Washington Department of Financial Institutions; and Doug Shadel, Washington state director of AARP.
More than 7,600 callers participated in the live Q&A.
It was a pleasure to work with the AARP and our fellow state and federal regulators on this event. We continue to work hard to provide information to seniors and other retail investors so that they can make informed decisions about investing during these challenging times.
Director of SEC San Francisco Region Office
Ms. Schneider discussed promotions by companies fraudulently touting CVOD-19 cures, the formation of the SEC’s Enforcement Division’s Coronavirus Steering Committee, COVID-19-related trading suspensions, red flags for possible fraud and information available at www.investor.gov.
Mr. Harwood discussed the damage of scams confronted by the FTC resulting in an estimated $120 million in damages, including COVID-19 scams involving light therapy, essential oils, and music sound waves. Mr. Beatty discussed online scams and the importance of timely reporting by victims to help agencies act to protect others.
“It was a pleasure to work with the AARP and our fellow state and federal regulators on this event,” said Ms. Schneider. “We continue to work hard to provide information to seniors and other retail investors so that they can make informed decisions about investing during these challenging times.”
“Fraudsters are closely following the headlines, adapting their messages and tactics as new concerns arise,” said Mr. Shadel. “Crooks are posing as contact tracers, offering high return rates on investments, and luring consumers into purchasing bogus coronavirus remedies."
The hour-long event was streamed live on AARP Washington’s Facebook page and a recording of the tele-townhall is available at https://states.aarp.org/washington/august-26-tele-townhall-tackles-covid-financial-scams.
More information about the SEC’s response to COVID-19 can be found at https://www.sec.gov/sec-coronavirus-covid-19-response.