|Jefferson City — Secretary of State Jason Kander today (Aug. 20, 2014) issued an Investor Alert urging Missourians to contact his office if they’ve been approached with questionable ads relating to investing in variable annuities.
Recent investigations by his office’s Securities Division have shown a trend of unregistered individuals making misleading claims or using marketing efforts to offer what may appear to be investment advice, specifically insurance agents selling variable annuities.
“Legitimate, investment-industry professionals may use some advertising to market their services. However, it’s important to recognize that bad actors can easily create false or misleading advertisements to get you in the door, and it can be difficult to tell the difference,” Kander said. “Before turning over their hard-earned savings, I urge Missourians to call the Investor Protection Hotline at (800) 721-7996 to see if the seller is registered.”
Investors should be wary of ads that promise unusually high returns or claim to be very low-risk. Additionally, ads that use scare tactics—like the threat of an impending economic collapse—or overly vague language to describe the investment may be signs of fraud.
Bad actors often use misleading job titles, such as a “personal retirement planning specialist” or “senior specialist,” to sell variable annuities. Such designations may be misleading about the variety of options and products available to clients.