Utahns reeling from stock-market losses or the government's $700 billion taxpayer-funded bailout for financial companies have one more reason to keep their eyes open.

The Utah divisions of securities and real estate are warning consumers to watch out for fraudulent offers in these uncertain economic times.

"Beware of those who attempt to prey on fear and uncertainty in the stock market with offers of alternative investments," said Keith M. Woodwell, securities division director.

Real estate division director Mark B. Steinagel says lower interest rates and the government's $7,500 tax credit for new homebuyers could attract fraudsters. "Don't jump into a real estate deal or a foreclosure-rescue offer without doing your homework," he said.

Bottom line is, if you have questions on an offer's legitimacy, call the state divisions, Department of Commerce executive director Francine A. Giani said. For securities questions, call 801-530-6600; for real estate questions, call 801-530-6747.