PRESS RELEASE
"War Warning"
 
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 18, 2003 
 
Contact: Irving L. Faught
  Oklahoma Department of Securities
  405-280-7700
 
 
Oklahoma City/////  With the U.S. on the brink of war with Iraq and heightened warnings of terrorism at home, investors should not make panicky financial decisions, Irving Faught, Administrator of the Oklahoma Securities Commission, advised Tuesday. He also repeated warnings, issued in the wake of the September 11 attacks and at the height of concerns about Year 2000 computer glitches, to beware of con artists seeking to capitalize on fear and uncertainty.
“In times of tragedy, confusion, fear and uncertainty, there are always those who will attempt to prey on the investing public,” said Faught. “Investors should resist the temptation to make hasty decisions about their investments or finances. Our economy is the most diverse and productive in the world, and the United States is and will remain the world’s financial capital.”

Recalling that many con artists exploited fears associated with the Year 2000 computer bug to tout investments in precious metals, emergency preparedness scams and non-existent technology companies, and in the wake of the September 11 attacks, promoters touted anthrax detectors and “revolutionary” security-enhancing technologies, Faught urged investors:

Do not give personal information to strangers over the phone such as brokerage account numbers, social securities numbers or online IDs or passwords;
Hang up on aggressive cold callers promoting “safe” investments such as precious metals, oil, or gas and ignore unsolicited e-mail or Internet chat room talk about small companies with new anti-terrorist technologies or products;
Check the Department of Securities’ web site to check that the sellers are registered. If they are not, they may be operating illegally;
Request written information that fully explains the investment, such as a prospectus or offering circular. The documentation should contain enough clear and accurate information to allow you or your financial adviser to evaluate and verify the particulars of the investment; and
Use common sense. Some things really are too good to be true. Get a professional, third party opinion when presented with investment opportunities that seem to offer unusually high returns in comparison to other investment options. Pie-in-the-sky promises often signal investment fraud.
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This press release, and related information, is available on the Securities Commission's web site at securities.ok.gov, by phone at (405) 280-7700, or in writing at:  Oklahoma Securities Commission, 204 North Robinson, Suite 400, Oklahoma City, OK 73102.