The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DOB) has warned of what it says are the top four emerging threats facing investors in 2015. They are stream-of-income investments/virtual currencies, binary options, marijuana industry investments and cybersecurity threats.
Christina Kotsalos, the DOB’s Director of Investor Education, said that investors may rush into such investments without a clear understanding of what they are, only to learn later when their return “may not be exactly what they signed up for.” Growing trends are the best bait and scammers know this. On virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, she said:
“For example, virtual currencies, we want to make sure they first understand what virtual currencies are and how they work. If they can’t sleep on it, on an investment decision they may have already made, then it probably means it wasn’t a good choice. We definitely stress they shouldn’t be rushed, they should check it out first.”
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Indeed, there was an aura of euphoria just over one year ago when bitcoin prices soared past $1000. This attracted investor attention and led to predictions that prices will spike even higher.
On binary options, she said the risks include illegal distributions, fraudulent promotion schemes, identity theft and denying withdrawals.
Marijuana industry investments, even if legitimate, may also be high risk.