SEC Center for Complaints and Enforcement Tips
March 4, 2011
You can file a complaint or provide us with tips on potential securities law violations though the links on this page. We welcome hearing from you because your information may alert us to broker or firm misconduct, an unfair practice in the securities industry that needs to be changed, or the latest fraud.
How Do I Reach the SEC?
There are several ways to file a complaint:
- Complaints/Tips — Use one of our online forms to file your complaint electronically.
- Spams — To report investment-related spam e-mails please complete our online form and use the "Add Attachment" button to attach the spam e-mail to the completed form. You will need to save the e-mail as a file in order to attach it to the form.
- Questions — Use our "Fast Answers" web page for general questions about the federal securities laws or your investments.
If you do not want to submit the information electronically, our address is: SEC, 100 F Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20549-5990.
Information for Whistleblowers
On July 21, 2010, the President signed into law the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” (the “Act”). Among other things, the Act establishes a whistleblower program that enables the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay an award, under regulations prescribed by the SEC and subject to certain limitations, to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the SEC with original information about a violation of the federal securities laws that leads to the successful enforcement of a covered judicial or administrative action, or a related action, as defined by the Act.
The SEC has 270 days from the date of enactment to issue final regulations implementing the whistleblower program and is in the process of preparing a rule proposal. Compliance with the regulations will be a prerequisite to an award, so please check back for information concerning the regulations if you wish to be considered for an award.
The Act provides that "information provided to the Commission in writing by a whistleblower shall not lose the status of original information . . . solely because the whistleblower provided the information prior to the effective date of the regulations, if the information is provided by the whistleblower after the date of enactment." If you wish to submit information regarding a potential violation of the federal securities laws, please use our online form. If you do not want to submit the information electronically, our address is: SEC, 100 F Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20549-5631. You may also send a fax to 202-772-9235.
The Act expressly prohibits retaliation by employers against individuals who become whistleblowers under SEC rules and provides them with a private cause of action in the event that they are discharged or discriminated against by their employers in violation of the Act. In addition, OSHA’s Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program continues to administer the whistleblower protection provisions under the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002.
What Information Should I Provide?
We can best respond to you if we receive accurate and complete information. Though you are not required to furnish any more information than you wish, critical information for us to completely evaluate your complaint or tip includes:
- Your name, mail and email addresses, and telephone numbers.
- The name, mail and email addresses, telephone numbers, and website address of any individual or company you mention in the complaint.
- If you have a complaint about a security or a securities salesperson, specific details of how, why, and when you were defrauded or encountered problems with investments or your broker or adviser.
What Happens After I Send Information to the SEC?
We thoroughly review and evaluate your information so that we may refer it to the appropriate SEC office. The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy will handle certain general questions about the securities laws and complaints relating to financial professionals or a complainant's personal financial matters. The professionals in this office can counsel you regarding possible remedies and may, under appropriate circumstances, approach brokerage firms, advisers or other financial professional concerning matters you have raised.
Attorneys in the Division of Enforcement evaluate information and tips concerning violations of the federal securities laws. It is the general policy of the SEC to conduct its investigations on a confidential basis to preserve the integrity of its investigative process as well as to protect persons against whom unfounded charges may be made or where the SEC determines that enforcement action is not necessary or appropriate.
Subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the SEC cannot disclose the existence or non-existence of an investigation and any information gathered unless made a matter of public record in proceedings brought before the SEC or in the courts. You can find information about public enforcement actions on our Web site.