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DON’T FALL FOR PAGING, 900 SCAMS

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The state Division of Securities is warning Utahns to beware of possible investment scams involving paging licenses and pay-per-call 900 numbers.

Division Director Mark Griffin, in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission, issued a statement this week cautioning consumers against participating in what he called the most prevalent get-rich-quick schemes being peddled by American con artists today."The truth is that both paging licenses and 900 numbers are extremely risky," Griffin said in the statement. "They are so speculative that only the most well-to-do and sophisticated investors are suitable candidates.

"Unfortunately, con artists are trying to sell these investments to first-time investors, the elderly on fixed incomes and others who are grossly unsuitable candidates."

Paging licenses secure the right to use a paging frequency covering a particular area in the United States. There is no limit to the number of licenses that can be obtained for a particular frequency, Griffin said, although scam operators tell potential investors they can make a fortune on the resale or lease of the paging licenses to major companies.

Telemarketers promoting investment in 900-number partnerships are not giving consumers the whole picture, according to Griffin. Investors are led to believe they will make huge profits without being told they must pay for the leasing of telephone lines and national promotion.

The Division of Securities publishes a free newsletter with specific steps investors should take to avoid becoming a victim in a paging license or 900-number scam. It can be picked up at the Commerce Department offices, 160 E. 300 South, or ordered by calling 530-6600. It is also available on the Department of Commerce's World Wide Web online service, (www.commerce.state.ut.us).