U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

INVESTigate Before You INVEST!

  • Download and print a hard copy of any on-line solicitation that you are considering. Make sure you catch the Internet address (URL) and note the date and time that you saw the offer. Save this in case you need it later.

  • Don't assume that people on-line are who they claim they are. The investment that sounds so good may be a figment of their imagination, or they may be paid to promote it.

  • Ask the on-line promoter whether – and how much – they've been paid to tout the opportunity.

  • Ask the on-line promoter where the company is incorporated. Call that state's secretary of state and ask if the company is incorporated with them and has a current annual report on file. Also, check the SEC's EDGAR database.

  • Don't believe everything you read on-line. Take the time to investigate a possible investment opportunity before you hand over your hard-earned money.

  • Check with your state securities regulator or the SEC and ask if they have received any complaints about the company, its managers, or the promoter.

  • Ask for other sources of information at your local public library. For example, there are resources that provide information about the company, such as a payment analysis, credit report, lawsuits, liens, or judgments.

  • Before you invest, always obtain written financial information, such as a prospectus, annual report, offering circular, and financial statements. Compare the written information to what you've read on-line and watch out if you're told that no information is available.

  • Don't assume that your access provider or on-line service has approved or even screened the investment. Anyone can set up a web site or advertise on-line, often without any check of its legitimacy or truthfulness.

  • Check with a trusted financial advisor, your broker, or attorney about any investment you learn about on-line.

Have You Run Into A Problem?

Don't be embarrassed if you think you've been duped – you are not alone. Complain promptly. By complaining early you will have a better chance of getting your money back, protecting your legal rights, preventing others from losing money, and assisting securities regulators in stopping investment fraud.