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SEC Warns of Government Impersonators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2018-55

Washington D.C., April 4, 2018 —

The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued an Investor Alert warning investors of fraudsters claiming to be SEC employees in an attempt to trick investors into sending money or revealing sensitive account information.  The alert makes clear that the SEC does not contact investors to confirm trades, set up trading accounts, or record the details of trades.  The alert also notes that federal government agencies, including the SEC, do not endorse or sponsor any particular securities, issuers, products, services, professional credentials, firms, or individuals.
  
The alert includes an audio recording of an actual imposter making a fraudulent pitch, excerpted below:

“…I’m a senior compliance officer with the Securities and Exchange Commission… I am confirming a buy order from Mr. [REDACTED], who is a portfolio manager of [REDACTED]…in accordance to the regulations that are set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission on the U.S. markets, Mr. [REDACTED], for the protection of both parties, what I’m going to do is record the details of the trade. It goes on file as a voice audio signature with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a regulated trade . . . It’s non-retractable…do I have your consent to place the order?”

“The audio recording is what fraud sounds like,” said Lori Schock, Director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy.  “We included the recording in our Investor Alert so investors can hear the lies and high pressure tactics imposters use to cheat potential victims out of their money.”

The SEC received the recording from a quick-thinking investor who suspected the call was fraudulent.  The investor did not hand over any money to the scam.

Investors who are unsure whether correspondence claiming to be from the SEC is authentic can call the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) at 1-800-732-0330 or email Help@SEC.gov. OIEA responds to investors’ questions and complaints, engages in educational outreach, and provides free investment tools and resources on Investor.gov.

If you believe you have been contacted by someone pretending to be from the SEC, submit a Complaint Form to the SEC’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) or call the OIG’s toll-free hotline at (877) 442-0854.

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