Business briefs for December 21st-27th

3 mins read

Photo above: American Legion Beaufort Post 9 is striving to promote both patriotism and businesses in the Beaufort area by calling attention to those that proudly display the U.S. flag at their location. Post 9 presents those enterprises with a framed certificate thanking them. Here, Post 9 Vice Commander Dick Jennings presents Miss Tess of Tess’ Alterations with a Certificate of Appreciation for displaying the U.S. flag.

Attorney general warns investors about scams

The Office of the South Carolina Attorney General recently released its annual list of top investor threats and reminded South Carolinians to use caution when approached with any unsolicited investment opportunities. 

“All investments involve a degree of risk. Investors can help protect themselves by taking time to research both the investment product and the person selling it. It’s best to learn before you get burned,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said.

The top threats were determined by surveying members of the North American Securities Administrators Association, of which the Attorney General’s Office is a member, to identify the most frequently identified source of current investor complaints or investigations. The following were cited most often:

• Promissory notes: A promissory note is a written promise to pay (or repay) a specified sum of money at a stated time in the future or upon demand. Companies may sell promissory notes to raise capital, and usually offer them only to sophisticated or institutional investors. But not all promissory notes are sold in this way. Promissory notes from legitimate issuers can provide reasonable investment returns at an acceptable level of risk, although state securities regulators have identified an unfortunately high number of promissory note frauds. 

• Real estate investments: The promise of earning quick money through investments related to real estate continues to lure investors. Investors should be cautious about real estate investment seminars, especially those marketed aggressively as an alternative to more traditional retirement planning strategies involving stocks, bonds and mutual funds. 

• Ponzi/pyramid schemes: A Ponzi scheme (named after 1920s swindler Charles Ponzi) is a ploy wherein earlier investors are repaid through the funds deposited by subsequent investors. In a Ponzi scheme, the underlying investment claims are usually entirely fictional; very few, if any, actual physical assets or investments generally exist. As the number of total investors grows and the supply of potential new investors dwindles, there is not enough money to pay off promised returns and cover investors who try to cash out. 

There are several other scams investors should watch out for. Visit www.scag.gov/scsecurities.

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