Beware oil spill stock scams

It’s inevitable that in a time of crisis, with public concern heightened, that some greaseballs – pun intended — will the try to exploit the situation. Today, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued a warning to investors about oil-spill-related stock scams.

One example of what to watch out for: the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday suspended trading of a California company after it made what the commission considers questionable claims about BP’s interest in using the company’s technology to help with the spill clean up.

FINRA has identified some red flags for possible spill scams:

  • Claims to have products or technologies that are effective in remediating oil spills or restoring the eco-system
  • Mention of contracts or expected contracts with BP, formerly British Petroleum, that will aid the cleanup effort
  • Claims that the company is providing technical assistance or expertise to BP or to U.S. government agencies such as the Coast Guard or the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Predictions of rapid, exponential sales growth
  • Pressure to invest immediately

Here’s the SEC complaint:

ATC Technologies