Consumer Alert: Protect your pocketbooks during the holiday's

Consumer Alert: Protect your pocketbooks during the holiday's

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Investors are being warned to lookout for con artists looking to swipe their holiday cash.

"The holidays are always an active time for con artists touting get-rich-quick and other investment schemes as a fast and easy way to cover their own holiday expenses," said Director of Commerce Jacqueline T. Williams. "It is especially important this time of year to not hand over your hard-earned money or your private financial information to people or businesses that you do not know."

The Ohio Department of Commerce's Division of Securities strongly encourages Ohio investors to closely scrutinize investments offered any time of year, it is warning investors to pay even closer attention to private placement deals as well as investment strategies tied to that "next big thing."

"Tech, craft brewery, and distillery startups, out-of-state marijuana operations, and online pyramid schemes like the recent 'Secret Sister' gift exchange scam on Facebook have all been popular this year," said Ohio Securities Commissioner Andrea L. Seidt. "Scam artists are exploiting these trends to peddle their own bogus offerings.  Ohioans need to do their homework and make sure the investments they are considering are legitimate and suitable for their own investing needs."

Consumers can avoid the fraud simply by calling the Division's Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-788-1194 before they invest.

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