An Echo Press Editorial: Growing wealth or losing money?
By the Echo Press Editorial Board
Growing wealth or losing money?
Thinking about taking a dive into the world of cryptocurrency investments?
You should tread carefully – there are sharks in those waters, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
The department is flagging top threats this year for investments and is urging caution before investors purchase volatile unregulated investments that become popular online.
According to the commerce department, cryptocurrency investments have gained increasing visibility through interactive digital platforms, social media, advertisements featuring celebrities and other media. While these media trends may popularize cryptocurrency, they may not show the risks and high volatility that can lead investors to losing money on their investments.
“Our goal is to encourage Minnesotans to save money and make wise investment decisions to benefit from saving money,” said Max Zappia, commerce deputy commissioner of financial institutions. “There are many options to find professional, licensed investment advisers to advise you so you can be an informed investor. It can make the difference between growing wealth or losing money.”
In addition to investments tied to cryptocurrencies and digital assets, other 2022 threats as determined by a survey of securities regulators include:
- Fraud offerings related to promissory notes.
- Money scams offered through social media and internet investment offers.
- Financial schemes connected to Self-Directed Individual Retirement Accounts.
The commerce department recommends these two steps for all investors:
Step 1: Be an informed investor. You need to work at putting your money to work so it can make more money. NASAA offers online investor education resources: nasaa.org/investor-education.
Step 2: Research your investment adviser. Do your homework about the person or people you are choosing to help manage your investment. Commerce recommends investors independently research registration and licensing of investment firms. Do not use hyperlinks provided by the investment advisers or businesses and instead check registration online.
The commerce department offers these tips to identify and avoid investment scams:
Scammers are spoofing websites and using fake social media accounts to obscure their identities. Investors should always take steps to identify phony accounts by looking closely at content, analyzing dates of inception and considering the quality of engagement. To ensure investors do not accidently deal with an imposter firm, pay careful attention to domain names and learn more about how to protect your online accounts.
Beware of fake client reviews. Scammers often reference or publish positive, yet bogus testimonials purportedly drafted by satisfied customers. These testimonials create the appearance that the promoters are reliable – that they have already earned significant profits in the past, and new investors can reap the same financial benefits as prior investors. In many cases, though, the reviews are drafted not by a satisfied customer but by the scammer.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Bad actors often entice new investors by promising the payment of safe, lucrative, guaranteed returns over relatively short terms – sometimes measured in hours or days instead of months or years. These representations are often a red flag for fraud, as all investments carry some degree of risk, and the potential profits are typically correlated with the degree of risk.
Beware of excessive fees or premiums on investments. If you consider transitioning a portion of your portfolio to precious metals or investment grade coins, fully understand the fees and premiums attached to the transaction. If the fees you pay will never be made up by the increase in value of the base metal, the investment is likely not sound. Ask detailed questions and request breakeven analysis on any precious metal investment or conversion.
For other consumer advice on how to protect your money, go to the website: mn.gov/commerce/consumers/your-money/protect