Get Some Money from BP? A Scammer Might Be Right Behind You


Where there are big piles of money, scam artists are often not far behind.

So people and businesses due to receive lump sum payments from BP in relation to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, beware.

Here’s why: Fraudsters may peddle oil spill-related investment opportunities that promise high returns with little or no risk, or involve secretive or complex strategies, the Securities and Exchange Commission warned on Wednesday.

Members of religious or ethnic communities, professional organizations or other close-knit affinity groups could be likely targets for these scams because of the high level of trust that often exists within these groups and their tendency to share information with one another, the agency said.

“We have seen firsthand how recipients of highly publicized payouts can become targets for investment fraud,” said SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro. Following Hurricane Katrina, many scams – classic Ponzi scheme or otherwise – targeted people being compensated by insurance companies.

But scams are already starting to flourish even before the payout stage, according to this earlier WSJ article.

Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator of the $20 billion oil-spill claims fund paid for by BP, has said ”scams” were bogging down efforts to distribute money to victims of the oil spill.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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