Times of disaster and difficulty can open up even the staunchest investors to vulnerability — and leave them ripe for con artists.

Investment scammers ride the wave of hurricanes and floods, touting companies allegedly involved in cleanup, repair and recovery efforts.

After Hurricane Katrina, for example, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission brought the hammer down on several such companies that made false and misleading statements about alleged business opportunities.

The Federal Emergency…

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