Lt. Gov. Osbert E. Potter advises Virgin Islands residents to safeguard their savings from investment fraud by becoming informed investors. He notes that fraudulent schemes may include newspaper advertisements promising free money; or unsolicited phone calls or e-mails promising individuals a supposedly “high-return, low risk” opportunity; or financial seminars where high-pressure tactics are used to extract monies from investors.
Red flags should be raised, for example, whenever an investment promises the avoidance of taxes or an individual is pressured to recruit family and friends to the investment opportunity.
Members of the public are also advised that they should always check the background and registration status of persons and companies providing investment advice or offering “money-making” opportunities.
“Investment funds should never be entrusted to anyone simply because that person is a friend, family member, co-worker or member of one’s church. Any individual or entity offering investment advice or selling a financial product in the Virgin Islands must be registered with the Division of Banking and Insurance. Similarly, any financial product for sale must be registered with the Division if not subject to a valid exemption,” said Potter.
Members of the public are urged to call the Division of Banking and Insurance to verify whether any individual or firm claiming to be a broker-dealer, financial planner or investment adviser, or representative thereof, is registered in the territory.
The Division of Banking and Insurance may be contacted at 773-6459 on St. Croix or 774-7166 on St. Thomas.