SAINT JOHN (GNB) – Investors are being advised to be cautious of investments in traditional and alternative energy resources. The New Brunswick Securities Commission issued the alert in co-operation with the North American Securities Administrators Association.

"Many of these investments are highly risky and not liquid and, therefore, are not appropriate for all investors," said Rick Hancox, executive director of the commission. "Securities regulators consistently see scam artists luring unsuspecting investors into schemes involving current events or innovative technologies."

The advisory explains the most common ways energy investment products may be offered; why investors need to be cautious; and how investors can protect themselves when considering investments in traditional or alternative energy offerings.

"With energy demands increasing globally, investments in traditional and alternative energy resources are being promoted more often and are becoming attractive to investors and con artists alike," said Hancox.

Unscrupulous promoters sometimes prey on investors interested in socially responsible products by labelling them as "green energy" investment opportunities. The phrase "green energy" implies that the products are ecologically friendly. In some cases, the promoters may be operating a fraudulent shell company and not producing anything.

According to the most recent enforcement survey by the association, oil and gas investments were the fourth most common product at the heart of securities enforcement cases. About 40 per cent of responding jurisdictions reported energy-related enforcement cases.

The commission is a member of the North American Securities Administrators Association, the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. The association’s members include provincial, territorial and state securities administrators in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Hearing from New Brunswick investors about suspicious investment activity helps stop investment fraud and the harm it can do to investors. For more information about the risks associated with energy investments, to get further information, to make a complaint or to express other investment-related concerns, contact the commission's investor services co-ordinator at 506-658-3060 or 1-866-933-2222 (toll-free).

The New Brunswick Securities Commission is an independent provincial Crown corporation responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. It is funded by regulatory fees paid by industry.