Photo: Fox 11 Online
A Winnebago, Wisc. woman is facing more than 30 criminal charges after she allegedly sold fake shares of Facebook stock to family and contractors.Here’s the zinger: Facebook filed to go public but none of its shares are even on sale yet.
Marianne Oleson, 46, not only convinced a construction worker to accept the fake stock as payment for home repairs, she even reportedly gave her daughter bogus shares as a Christmas present, according to Fox11.
“I was scammed,” Randy Stafford, Oleson’s contractor, told the station. He said he wound up accepting more than $28,000 in Facebook shares he thought would be an investment in his family’s future.
“I’m interested in my options and investments so you don’t have to work as hard and make it a lot easier money for my kids and family,” he said.
In all, Oleson allegedly scammed at least five people by telling them she’d purchased $1 million of stock from the social media giant, but police think there may be more victims who haven’t come forward yet.
These kinds of scams are nothing new, especially with blockbuster IPOs like Facebook’s grabbing headlines of every major media outlet. A year ago, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued a warning to investors to be on the lookout for bogus stock scams.
Take their advice on spotting fraudsters:
- Ask yourself: Why would a total stranger tell me about a really great investment opportunity?
- Virtually all pre-IPO scams rely on the same recipe for a con: dangling the prospect of exclusive access to eye-popping returns at a discount if you act quickly.
- Verify whether the person touting the stock or investment is licensed.
- Get a second opinion.
Or, you know, you could do a quick Google search to see if a company’s even started selling it shares yet…