Binary options, marijuana-related businesses, income stream investments, and digital currencies are the biggest emerging threats to investors for 2015, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
The group of state and provincial regulators issued its list of top threats facing unwary investors throughout North America today. Along with the new emerging threats, NASAA also said that persistent threats include exempt offerings, Ponzi schemes, real estate scams, Internet frauds (including social media scams and crowdfunding), and oil & gas investments.
“Many of the top threats facing investors involve new products in classic schemes,” said William Beatty, NASAA’s president and Washington Securities director. “Regulators are seeing classic threats to investors morph into new or altered dangers, many fueled by the Internet. Overarching all of these threats are unlicensed agents selling unregistered products to unsuspecting investors.”
Unregistered individuals continue to be the most common subject of enforcement actions, NASAA noted. “It cannot be said enough that investors should independently verify any investment opportunity as well as the background of the person and company offering the investment,” Beatty said.
That said, NASAA’s recently-released enforcement report also identified a significant rise in the number of formal enforcement actions initiated against licensed brokers. “It pays to investigate before you invest,” Beatty said.