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Alert: Cold callers from overseas investment scams

Rise in cold callers from overseas peddling investment scams

Five more overseas “brokers” have been added to the Securities Commission list of people who target New Zealanders with dubious offers of shares. They are:

Whitman Wright & Associates of Ontario, Canada;

Miller Bosses Acquisitions Inc of Minneapolis, USA;

Mason McHale Portfolio Management of Hong Kong;

Hanworth Weir Ltd of Singapore; and

Whitby Dumas of London.

“We are receiving several complaints a day about unsolicited phone calls,” Director of Enforcement Norman Miller says. “There are 118 names of dubious firms on our published list.” See http://www.sec-com.govt.nz/invest/overseas_brokers.shtml

Most of the calls are to people who bought shares from overseas callers a year or two ago. Those shares usually turned out to be worthless, and people lost their money.

The follow-up scams occurring now are part of the original scam. A new “broker” calls and offers to buy or trade the worthless shares for a better investment. Of course, the New Zealand victim has to pay more money to enable this to happen.

These “firms of brokers” change their names often. If a caller is not named on our website it does not mean that they are genuine. People should not send money out of the country to “brokers” known only to them by unsolicited telephone calls. Hang up on the callers.

The Commission is aware of more than $20 million lost from New Zealand by people who have paid money to telephone callers in the last 2-3 years.

If you wish to invest in overseas shares contact a New Zealand broker who is accountable under New Zealand law.

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