6 Ways to Avoid a Cryptocurrency Stock Scam: FINRA

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority warned investors Thursday to be wary of potential stock scams tied to cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.

In its Investor Alert, the broker-dealer self-regulator encourages investors to do their research before purchasing shares of any company offering investment opportunities in cryptocurrency.

The SRO also told investors to watch out for unrealistic predictions of exponential returns and unsubstantiated claims made through press releases, spam email, telemarketing calls, or posted online or in social media, as they may be signs of a “pump and dump” scam.

A FINRA Investor Education Foundation survey of 2,000 investors with non-retirement investment accounts found that individual stocks are the most commonly held investment nationwide.

“It can be difficult for investors to avoid the lure of the cryptocurrency markets, especially when prominent people express interest in it, and news reports and social media tout the promise of guaranteed quick fortunes and skyrocketing returns,” said Gerri Walsh, FINRA’s senior vice president for Investor Education, in a statement. “But it is important to do your research. Even when legitimate companies enter a hot, new sector, con artists almost always follow suit.”

FINRA urged investors to take the following steps before investing in any cryptocurrency-related stock:

— Check out Crypto Mania Rages With Bankruptcy, Stock Suspension, ETF Plan on ThinkAdvisor.

Attorneys say blockchain, cryptocurrency and robo-advising are among the sectors to watch.

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