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Investor Alert: Investors Beware of Government Impersonators

Feb. 1, 2012

The staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is issuing this Investor Alert about an individual who is falsely representing to be an employee of the SEC and offering to provide assistance with settling federal tax obligations with the United States Internal Revenue Service. In communications with members of the public, the name used by this individual is “Steven Cooper.” The individual also used the e-mail address and includes purported correspondence to a fake SEC employee by the name of “Gordon Green.”

Investors should beware that this individual is not affiliated with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and to our knowledge is not an employee of a United States government agency.

If you're ever unsure whether you're dealing with someone from the real SEC, use our online Question Form to ask us, or call one of our offices listed in the Contact Us section of our website.

It's not hard to figure out who the real regulators are and how you can contact them. You'll find a list of international securities regulators on the website of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and a directory of state and provincial regulators in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. on the website of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). If someone encourages you to verify information about a deal with an entity that doesn't appear on these lists, you should be wary.

For additional tips on investing wisely and avoiding fraud, please visit the following web pages on the SEC’s website:

Investor Alert: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators

Fake Seals and Phony Numbers

Advance Fee Fraud Schemes

The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided this information as a service to investors.  It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy.  If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.

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