The Missouri secretary of state's office says complaints about loans, investment seminars and investments in precious metals have increased in the past year.
The office's securities division reports that some of the top complaints involve offers of promissory notes in exchange for cash, and bogus representations of gold or silver as a safer investment.
Other complaints arise from investment seminars that offer free meals as a come-on. Regulators say the advice offered at the seminars can be poor and put people's savings at risk.
Securities officials say anyone considering a new investment or broker should consider calling the state's Investor Protection Hotline, at 1-800-721-7996.