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Ashcroft warns of con artists amid coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 3:04 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 16:04:20-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft urged residents on Monday to use caution as con artists seek “to capitalize on fear and uncertainty” related to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a news release.

“We know con artists are opportunistic and use current events to cloak their schemes with an air of immediacy and legitimacy,” Ashcroft said in the release. “Never make an investment decision without understanding what you are investing in, who you are doing business with, where your money is going, how it will be used, and how you can get it back. Always ask if the salesperson and the security are registered with their securities regulator.”

Securities Commissioner David M. Minnick warned of people trying to “scare investors” into different investments. He said in the release to reach out to a financial professional and “avoid making decisions based on panic or fear.”

Questions consumers can ask prior to changing or making new investments, according to the release, include:

  • Is the investment being offered with a guaranteed high return with little or no risk?
  • Is there a sense of urgency or limited availability surrounding the investment?
  • Is the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, properly licensed or registered?

Anyone with questions can call the Investor Protection Hotline at (800) 721-7996 or go online to