Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw on Tuesday urged investors in Maine to remain calm and beware of con artists seeking to capitalize on fear and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and its impact on financial markets.

“We know con artists are opportunistic and use current events to cloak their schemes with an air of immediacy and legitimacy,” Shaw said in a prepared statement. “Never make an investment decision without understanding what you are investing in, who you are doing business with, where your money is going, how it will be used, and how you can get it back.”

She said investors should always ask if the salesperson and the security are licensed and registered with the Maine Office of Securities.

Shaw also urged investors to use caution when making investment decisions during this time of market volatility.

“It is easy to get caught up in the panic that accompanies a market downturn,” she said, “but it is important to remember to make decisions that are based on reason, not emotions.”

According to Shaw, it’s a known fact that markets go up and down, and reacting impulsively to market changes can cause more harm than good to an investor’s financial outlook. She encouraged investors to have a conversation with their financial professional to revisit their financial goals and investment horizon, and to strategize on ways to minimize the impact of market fluctuations.

Shaw urged anyone who has questions about investing to contact the Maine Office of Securities. Information about advisers, salespeople and investing is available at the office’s website, by calling 1-877-624-8551 or by writing to the Maine Office of Securities, 121 SHS, Augusta ME 04333-0121.

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