WASHINGTON (November 19, 1999) – On the eve of a made-for-TV disaster movie about the Year 2000 computer bug, state securities regulators warned investors not to fall victim to “Y2K: The Scam.”
State securities cops warned that con artists are trying to exploit fear of the Y2K problem by touting risky or bogus investments. State regulators say some promoters are offering, via “spam” e-mail, investment opportunities in companies or products that supposedly fix the Y2K problem.
Hype and fear about Y2K problems, like those depicted in “Y2K”: on NBC on Sunday night could play into the hands of scam artists. Regulators fear investors could be seduced into fraudulent investments.
“Fear can make people do stupid things, ” said Bradley Skolnik, president of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and Indiana’s Securities Commissioner. “There are common-sense things investors can do to protect themselves. They don’t need to bury their money in the backyard.”
State securities regulators recommend investors:
- Keep six month’s of bank and brokerage statements on hand, in case a Year 2000-related question develops.
- Never turn money over to a stranger.
- Hang up on aggressive cold callers promoting Y2K-related investments such as precious metals.
- Ignore unsolicited email or Internet chat room talk about small companies with Y2K “stories.”