MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of
Financial Institutions identified Wednesday emerging
threats facing investors in the coming year - including
schemes involving marijuana-related businesses and
Promoters of medical marijuana, which is
now legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia,
have seized on this new market to sell investments in
companies that provide products and services to the
marijuana industry such as vaporizers, hydroponic
supplies, lighting systems, and security systems.
“Many of the top threats facing investors
involve new products in classic schemes,” said Patricia
Struck, administrator of DFI’s Division of Securities.
“We are seeing threats to investors morph into new
risks, many fueled by the Internet. Overarching all of
these threats are unlicensed agents selling unregistered
products to unsuspecting investors.”
Other emerging threats include
stream-of-income investments - where investors looking
for monthly returns are enticed into making risky
investments with individuals selling pension payments or
government disability payments - plus digital currency
and cyber-security risks.
Digital currencies have emerged as a new
method to pay for goods and services. But the rapid
price increase in currencies like Bitcoin have sparked
considerable public interest and media attention,
leading to a fresh market for securities offerings tied
to digital currencies.
“Investors should independently verify
any investment opportunity,” said Struck, “as well as
the background of the person and company offering the