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Virginia Warns of Scam Investment Opportunities After Hurricane Harvey

Virginia’s State Corporation Commission is warning of investment scams as Texas and Louisiana begin to recover from Hurricane Harvey.

The SCC warned of Virginians receiving unsolicited emails, social media messages, pitches or telephone calls promoting investment pools or bonds to help storm victims, or to make investments in water-removal or purification technologies, electricity-generating devices and distressed real estate remediation programs.

“Disasters bring out the best in some people, but they bring out the worst in others,” Ron Thomas, director of the SCC’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising, said in a statement. “Fraudsters often follow the headlines to peddle their schemes. Be leery of unsolicited investment opportunities that seek to capitalize on Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.”

The SCC advised people to do the following:

  • Delete unsolicited emails or social media messages and hang up on aggressive cold callers promoting hurricane-related investments, especially those from small companies touting unproven or new technologies or products.
  • Don’t be pressured to make rushed decisions about investments you don’t understand. Before making a decision to invest, request written information that fully explains the investment.
  • Don’t fall for unrealistic claims or offers touting guaranteed returns with little or no risk. Every investment involves some degree of risk.
  • Do your homework. Contact the SCC’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising to check that both the seller and investment are registered. If they are not, don’t invest. Contact information is available on the division’s website at www.scc.virginia.gov/srf/srf_contact.
  • If you suspect you are the victim of fraud, report it to your state securities regulator immediately.

There are numerous ways to donate to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, including through the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Team Rubicon among others.

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