SIPC Exposes Phony "Look-Alike" Web Site
Never underestimate the creativity and duplicity of con artists. They will do anything to separate you from your money and securities. In one case, a group of fraudsters created a fake mirror image of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)'s website and used the "look-alike" site to mislead investors.
In order to warn investors about this scam, SIPC issued a press release which exposed a fictitious entity known as the International Brokers Association. The IBA website mimics almost exactly the look, feel, and content of SIPC's website with one notable exception. In the "members" area of the SIPC website, investors can confirm whether a brokerage firm is a member of SIPC by doing a search against the SIPC database. The IBA website, by contrast, simply lists IBA's supposed members. Included among IBA's members are fraudulent firms that do not appear on SIPC's membership list and that are not registered with either the SEC or FINRA.
Fraudsters have encouraged investors worldwide to use the IBA website to "verify" the legitimacy of fraudulent brokerage firms. But the IBA does not exist, and at least some of its so-called members are unlicensed, unregulated brokerage firms.
Don't be fooled by brokerage firms that tell you how and where to check out their credentials. Do your own independent investigation. Your first step should be to contact your securities regulator and the securities regulator where the firm claims to do business.
It's not hard to figure out who the real regulators and legitimate entities are and how you can contact them. But make sure the URL matches the ones listed below: