Securities Association Leads Crackdown on Cryptocurrency Scams

An operation led by the North American Securities Administrators Association led to nearly three dozen enforcement actions against fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes across North America.

When it comes to cryptocurrency scams, the North American Securities Administrators Association isn’t messing around.

Last week, NASAA, which represents state- and territory-level securities administrators throughout North America, announced the launch of a new campaign to fight cryptocurrency-related investment scams, including fraudulent initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The endeavor, called Operation Cryptosweep, involves 40 of the jurisdictions that NASAA supports, and has already led to 70 inquiries and 35 enforcement actions since the start of May.

Joseph P. Borg, the director of the Alabama Securities Commission and NASAA’s president, stated that it was imperative that the association get involved to protect investors.

“The persistently expanding exploitation of the crypto ecosystem by fraudsters is a significant threat to Main Street investors in the United States and Canada, and NASAA members are committed to combating this threat,” Borg said in a news release. “Despite a series of public warnings from securities regulators at all levels of government, cryptocriminals need to know that state and provincial securities regulators are taking swift and effective action to protect investors from their schemes and scams.”

It’s not the first time NASAA has jumped on the issue of investor protection. Over the years, the group has spoken out on the impact of the 2012 JOBS Act, a startup funding law, out of concern it could put investors in harm’s way. The group has also warned of the risks posed by affinity fraud, which tends to affect elderly investors.

But its recent focus on ICOs has proven a major conversation-starter. Earlier this year, NASAA released a statement calling on investors to take great care when investing in cryptocurrency-related products, with Borg telling investors to “go beyond the headlines and hype to understand the risks associated with investments in cryptocurrencies.”

The comments earned commendation from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which called NASAA’s efforts “a timely and thoughtful reminder to Main Street investors to exercise caution.”

(Bychykhin_Olexandr/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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