NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As if we didn't already have enough things to worry about in this pandemic, now we're learning that scammers are using the coronavirus to steal money from investors. They're a lot of the same sorts of scams that have been around for years. But now you throw in COVID-19 and you've got the old scams now with a new twist.
"Scammers are always on the lookout for some new way to package the same old shell game, the same old bait and switch," Kevin Walters with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance said.
And, with a worldwide pandemic, scammers are seizing on the coronavirus opportunity to peddle supposed miracle cures and groundbreaking products and technologies
"If someone is telling you about getting in on the ground floor of a new vaccine or some sort of miracle cure and you can make a crazy amount of money, they are lying to you," Walters added.
He went on to say that scammers are now using COVID-19 to separate unsuspecting investors from their hard earned money.
They're pushing their investments on the internet and social media, promising high rates of return and even monthly cash payments which can sound nice right now, especially to those who are struggling.
But Walters cautioned not to fall for it.
"We urge investors to take a deep breath if they are ever approached by someone who is ever promising you a can’t miss, no risk investment. Take a deep breath, literally and figuratively. If it is a great deal, it is still going to be there tomorrow. If someone is pressuring you into sending them money or making an investment, you need to pump the brakes," he explained.
Before you give anyone money, ask questions and do your research. Read the fine print and know exactly what you're getting into. And know the risks and fees involved.
"It is a message we can’t stress enough. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. If they are promising you something that is a no risk, big reward payoff, that person is taking you for a ride or that person wants to take you for a ride. You are dealing with a scammer and you should walk away," he warned.
And before you invest, know who you are dealing with. Look into their backgrounds, both the salesperson and the company they work for. Sometimes all it takes is a simple Google search to find past lawsuits or regulatory actions. You can also contact the Securities Division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. They can help make sure that you understand what you're investing in and who you're doing business with. You can reach them at 615-741-3187 or 615-741-5900.
And finally, remember all investments come with at least some risk so do not invest money that you cannot afford to lose, especially now.