Updated Investor Alert: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators
Nov. 1, 2012
SEC staff is issuing this updated Investor Alert because we are aware of continuing fraudulent solicitations that purport to be affiliated with or sponsored by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commission staff, as well as particular Commissioners (including a recent bogus email scam using the name of Commissioner Daniel Gallagher).
The SEC does not endorse investment offers, assist in the purchase or sale of securities, or participate in money transfers. SEC staff will not, for example, contact individuals by telephone or email for purposes of:
- seeking assistance with a fund transfer;
- forwarding investment offers to them;
- advising individuals that they own certain securities;
- telling investors that they are eligible to receive disbursements from an investor claims fund or class action settlement; or
- offering grants or other financial assistance (especially for an upfront fee).
SEC staff does not make these types of unsolicited communications, including emails or telephone calls asking for detailed personal and financial information, such as shareholdings and PIN numbers. If you receive a telephone call or email from someone claiming to be from the SEC (or another government agency), always verify the person's identity. Use the SEC's personnel locator, (202) 551-6000, to verify whether the caller is an SEC staff member and to speak with him or her directly. In addition, you can call the SEC at (800) SEC-0330 for general information, including information about SEC enforcement actions and any investor claims funds. Our online Question Form is another way you can ask us about a solicitation.
If you have been contacted by someone misrepresenting himself as an SEC staff member, please let us know by either calling us or submitting a Complaint Form. You may also report the incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at www.ic3.gov.
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 and Investor.gov:
Investor Alert: Investors Beware of Government Impersonators (February 2012)
Investor Alert: Investors Beware of Government Impersonators (October 2010)
Investor Alert: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators (April 2010)
PAUSE List of Fictitious Governmental Agencies and International Organizations Associated with Soliciting Entities
Worthless Stock: How to Avoid Doubling Your Losses
Fake Seals and Phony Numbers: How Fraudsters Try to Look Legit
IRS Urges Caution about Internet Sites that Resemble the Official IRS Site