MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Securities Commission recently issued an investor awareness advisory providing information to help investors understand affinity fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Affinity fraud occurs frequently at places of worship, in tight-knit ethnic or immigrant communities, at country clubs, in professional organizations, online forums, and anywhere people gather around a shared belief, interest, or goal.

That shared interest creates camaraderie and trust among the members. Fraudsters join these groups and use the trust they build to convince members to invest in schemes or phony business projects to line their own pockets. The outcome leaves investors broke.

The advisory provides an overview of affinity fraud and how it works. It also provides an example and discusses the steps investors can take to minimize their risk of falling victim to affinity fraud. The full advisory may be viewed and printed from the ASC’s website at www.asc.alabama.gov in the Investor Alerts section.

Before making any financial decisions, ask questions. Do your homework and call the ASC at 1-800-222-1253. Check out the registration and background of the person making the offer. Investigate registration of the product offered and report suspected securities fraud.