Jesse White urges Illinoisans to investigate brokers before investing money
From press release
Secretary of State Jesse White urged all Illinoisans to check with the office’s Securities Department before investing with a securities broker, investment adviser, or anyone offering investment opportunities.
“Each year, thousands of people are scammed out of their hard-earned income by unlicensed individuals peddling investments,” White said. “We are urging investors to contact our office to investigate whether the broker or investment adviser you are dealing with is registered with the state of Illinois. In these tough economic times, con artists are looking for easy money, and the last thing we want is for our citizens to become the victims of fraud.”
In 2009, the Securities Department received complaints totaling more than $200 million.
White’s Securities Department regulates and licenses entities offering and selling securities, investment advisers, loan brokers, business brokers, and those offering business opportunities.
The department is currently handling more than 600 cases, most of which will be resolved through administrative action; however, the department is also working on 39 criminal matters. The department works with county, state and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to pursue scammers who defraud people of their hard-earned money and their retirement savings.
The vast majority of financial scams that are reported to the department involve fraudsters who do not have a license to sell securities or offer investment advice.
The announcement followed the unveiling of the state’s new ad campaign. Television ads will air throughout the month of November and December statewide encouraging people to investigate before they invest.
The commercial shows how difficult it is to identify a scam artist who blends into a community and that investors should make sure they deal with individuals who are properly licensed. The spot reveals that anyone can be a victim and anyone can be a con artist–that’s why it is important for people to investigate before investing.
Funding for the ad and media buy came from contributions and payments in enforcement actions, which were made to the Investor Education Fund. The ad was produced by the Secretary of State’s office.
Illinoisans can investigate their investment adviser or broker by visiting www.AvoidTheScam.net or calling the Illinois Secretary of State Securities Department at (800) 628-7937.
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