Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Publications and Alerts

Tenancy in Common (PDF) - Agents, broker-dealers, and others  offering or selling tenancy in common interests are reminded to comply with the Securities Act of Washington.

Investor Education Booklets - Free investor education booklets available for free from DFI, in partnership with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, the Investor Protection Trust and the American Library Association. The booklets can be viewed online in PDF format or you may order a booklet and have it mailed to you free of charge.

Securities Fraud Alerts - (Companies that may be involved in various securities-related frauds.)

Going to Display Rack & Ruin - A pamphlet put out by the Federal Trade Commission on display rack business opportunities.

Buying A Franchise: A Consumer Guide (Federal Trade Commission)
Information from the Federal Trade Commission about buying a franchise. The Federal Trade Commission has prepared this booklet to explain how to shop for a franchise opportunity, the obligations of a franchise owner, and questions to ask before you invest.

Alert to Those who are Considering Selling Life Settlement Investments - The Securities Division has received a number of inquiries about whether persons who are not licensed as securities salespersons or broker-dealers may sell investments in life settlements to their customers. This alert explains how investments in life settlements may be securities and discusses the possible consequences of selling such investments.

How to Protect Your Money From Theft by Dishonest Investment Advisers - With more people in charge of their investment portfolios than ever before, Washington State securities officials are warning investors of the increasing sophistication of investment advisers who steal money from unsuspecting clients.

Field of Schemes - The "Field of Schemes" Investor Alert is designed to help mow down some of the newest hybrids as well as the age-old favorite telemarketing investment frauds that are bilking small investors out of an increasing share of the estimated $40 billion lost to telemarketing fraud every year.

Affinity Fraud - Beware of swindlers who claim loyalty to your group.

Investor Bill of Rights - When you invest, you have the right to . . .


Be a
Wise Investor! 
You as an investor are ultimately responsible for your investment decisions. The money you invest is yours, earned by your hard work. The future you are investing in is yours, whether you are investing in securities or purchasing a franchise or business opportunity. You owe it to yourself to become an educated, responsible investor. Towards that end, we hope that the following brochures will be helpful.

Understanding Your Brokerage Account Statements - A brochure from the North American Securities Administration and the Securities Industry Association details the common features of most account statements, and features a step-by-step checklist on how to review them. The brochure also includes a frequently asked questions section and an extensive glossary of investment terms that account holders may come across while reviewing their statements. Written in easy-to-understand plain English, “Understanding Your Brokerage Account Statements,” will answer any questions the average investor may have about how to read his or her account statement.

Multi-level Marketing Tips - Some questions to ask yourself when considering purchasing a Multi-level Marketing Program.

A Guide for Beginning Investors - This brochure is intended to provide a sound foundation on which to build a good working relationship with your stockbroker.

The Older Investor - This brochure is geared to the older or mature investor. It lists several sales practices that are ill suited for older investors. It also talks about why con artists target mature investors and the steps that they can take to protect themselves.

Avoiding Business Opportunity Fraud - Every day people invest in business opportunities, whether they are at home businesses, franchises, or multi-level marketing arrangements. This brochure lists steps that you can take to protect yourself by outlining some of the problems to be aware of.

Investment Scams, Frauds, & Con Artists - Investors lose hundreds of millions of dollars every year to investment fraud. This brochure offers advice to the potential investor on how to spot con artists, scams, and frauds.

Choosing an Investment Professional - This brochure outlines some of the steps you can take to increase the chances of having a good relationship with an investment professional and ultimately increase your chances of being a successful investor.

Buying a Business Opportunity - This brochure describes Business Opportunity, Franchise, and Multi-Level Marketing programs. It lists things to do before you make your selection, pointers on how to shop a business opportunity/franchise show, and some warning signs to be aware of.

It'$ Your Money - This booklet gives more detailed information on taking charge of your investments. It tells you what you should do if you have a problem with your Investment Professional. It also has tips on how to avoid becoming the victim of scams, frauds, or unsuitable sales practices. It includes sample forms, a worksheet to use in rating a fund when you are researching, and the meanings of the terms used to describe mutual funds. It is an excellent basic resource.

A Consumer Guide to Small Business Investments - Small business investments are among the most risky that investors can make. This booklet suggests items to consider for determining whether you should make a small business investment.

More consumer information may be found on these sites:

NASAA Investor Education
IPT Investor Education
FINRA Investor Education
SEC Investor Education

Other sites for Investors.

Small Business Assistance

Options for Small Business in the Securities Market - This booklet is designed to help small businesses and their attorneys and accountants understand the different securities financing options available to them.

SCOR: A Simplified Method for Public Venture Financing of Companies in Washington State - This booklet offers an overview of the SCOR program.

So, You Want to Go Public? - This brochure was created to help the small business owner make the decision whether or not to go public.