People who’ve lost money in an investment scam are at risk of becoming victimized a second time by companies offering to help them recover their money or bring the perpetrator to justice. That’s according to an advisory issued Thursday by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson.
It says these third-party asset recovery companies typically approach investors who’ve lost thousands of dollars to fraudulent investment schemes, months after they’ve realized what’s happened. The companies often use high-pressure sales tactics to get the investor to hire them. They typically charge large upfront fees, and many promise to offer legal assistance, even though they may not actually be law firms. Instead, they conduct a quick search using information that’s already publicly available. Then, they send demand letters to the people behind the initial scheme. They also file a complaint with state and federal regulators, a service they offer directly to residents for free. Additionally, the complaints filed by third-party asset recovery companies are often based upon information that’s too old for legal action and involve companies no longer in business or ones that have already been subjected to regulatory action.
If you’re a victim of investment fraud, the Secretary of State’s Office recommends contacting its Securities Division to file a complaint directly. They also say to ask for specifics before using the services of a recovery firm, including the names and license numbers for attorneys working at companies claiming to provide legal services. Most importantly, remember that defrauded investors rarely recover any lost funds, and when money is recovered, it’s usually only a small percentage of what was lost.
To contact the Secretary of State Securities Division, visit in.gov/sos/securities or call 317-232-6682.