As we warn on the Scambusters home page, crooks have unleashed a tidal wave of scams to cash in on the BP oil leak.
In this issue, we identify the range of tricks, from investment scams and phony jobs, to bogus fund-raising and financial support.
We also have genuine contact details related to the oil leak and additional guidance to avoid these disaster scams.
However, we encourage you to take a look at this week's most popular articles from our other sites:
Whatever the final outcome of the BP oil leak, there's no doubt that disaster scam tricks related to the incident will, like the clean-up, run for many years.
In fact the cleanup, rather than the oil leak, is the main source of scams that add to the woes surrounding this catastrophe.
This criminal activity spreads the impact of the BP oil leak well beyond the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, tricking investors and would-be workers and helpers out of their money.
Let's take a look at the main disaster scams linked to the oil leak.
BP Oil Leak Investment Scams
Within weeks of the BP oil leak, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended trading in several companies that claimed to be working with BP on a clean-up solution.
They issued a warning about "pump and dump" schemes (though not necessarily related to these firms) that drive up a company's stock price before it collapses when claims fail to materialize.
Read more about pump and dump schemes in this earlier Scambusters issue, Investing Safely.
John Gannon, Finra's investor education chief, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that investors "need to be careful because those companies may not have the technology or ability to do what they are touting they can do, and may be making claims like having contracts with BP or the Environmental Protection Agency that investors need to be careful about trusting."
Investment scam warning signs that should put you on the alert include:
Unsolicited information promoting a stock via email or regular mail.
The stock is traded "over the counter" rather than on the New York Stock Exchange (though, of course, many legitimate companies also trade this way).
If you're concerned about the reliability of a company you're considering as an investment you should speak first to your trusted financial advisor and check out the company's filings with the SEC.
Other BP Oil Leak Financial Scams
BP has set up its own fund to compensate victims of the oil spill.
Now scammers in various guises -- bogus BP or government officials, or phony finance companies -- have shown up, offering financial help to individuals and companies affected by the spill.
In some cases, they prey on human weaknesses by even telling people who wouldn't normally qualify for aid that they can cash in.
In most cases, this is an advance fee fraud coming from Nigeria. After convincing you they can get the money, they ask for an arrangement fee.
Tags: bp holdings, bp code 34912725751, protect yourself from bp oil leak scammers