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The Division of Finance and Corporate Securities warns citizens to be cautious about telephone calls soliciting the opportunity to purchase over the counter (OTC) or penny stocks.

The Division has received a number of calls concerning a voicemail message left by an anonymous female caller urging them to purchase a particular penny stock. The message is intended to appear as if the caller is calling a close friend and has dialed the wrong number. The caller talks fast stating she has a great inside deal on a penny stock. The caller personalizes the conversation by saying the recommendation comes from a broker the woman is dating and that her father previously purchased stock and made a huge profit. The purpose of the call is to make you think you’ve received a hot stock tip by mistake.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is asking investors who receive these kinds of calls to let them know the company being touted, the exact date and time the call was received, the number called, and the number from which the call was made, if available. E-mail the information to enforcement@sec.gov, or call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.

An OTC stock is usually valued at less than five dollars per share and may be referred to as a penny stock or pink sheet stock. OTC stock is a high risk investment since the value of the stock is so small it can lose value quickly.

It's never a good idea to buy stock on the basis of a hot tip, particularly from a stranger. Before you part with your hard-earned savings, get written information about the investment opportunity, review it carefully, and make sure that you understand all the risks involved. Investors should be wary of doing business over the telephone with businesses and opportunities that they are not familiar with.

If you have questions or any concerns about a company you can contact the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities for inquiries regarding securities broker-dealers, sales agents, investment advisors, investment advisor representatives, financial planners, the registration status of securities, and to report suspected fraud, or to obtain information. You may telephone the Division at 503-378-4140.