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Secretary of State

Securities Division > News Archive  > 2005 Press Releases > For Immediate Release: September 2, 2005 Rokita Advises Hoosiers to Beware of Hurricane Related Scams

Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
317-233-8655
Media@sos.in.gov

Indianapolis, IN - In the wake of widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, Indiana Securities Commissioner O. Wayne Davis today warned investors to beware of opportunistic investment scams.

"Bottom-feeding con artists always try to find ways to exploit tragic headlines to cash in on unsuspecting investors," said Davis, speaking on behalf of Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita who is currently out of the country as part of a young political leaders program.

"In the aftermath of this week's tragedies, investors should be patient and cautious when making decisions about their investments or finances," Davis said, noting that cold-calling telephone salespeople, advertisements, or Internet postings that tout investment pools or bonds to help hurricane victims or supposed water-removal or purification technologies and electricity-generating devices should be a red flag for investors.

Davis also reminded investors to watch out for oil and gas scams given the current oil prices and the prospects of even higher prices following Katrina's destructive path through Gulf of Mexico oil fields and refineries. Currently the Secretary of State's office is investigating several oil and gas schemes in addition to new complaints concerning investment scams involving Hurricane Katrina.

Recalling that many con artists exploited fears associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and the Year 2000 computer bug to promote investments in precious metals, emergency preparedness scams and non-existent technology companies, Davis urged investors to do the following:

  • Hang up on aggressive cold callers promoting hurricane-related or oil and gas investments, and ignore unsolicited e-mail or Internet messages discussing small companies with new hurricane-related technologies or products.
  • Request written information fully explaining the investment.
  • Use common sense. Pie-in-the-sky promises often signal investment fraud.

Investors should always contact Secretary Rokita's office before investing to be sure both seller and investment are licensed and registered. The Secretary of State's Securities Division can be reached at 1-800-223-8791, and information can be verified online at http://www.sos.in.gov/.

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