A sham outfit calling itself the "U.S. Securities and Equities Administration" may be charging investors fees to remove alleged stock restrictions or to release non-existent government funds, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warns.
"Investors should beware that these entities are not United States government agencies and are not affiliated with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission," the SEC said in an investor alert on Thursday, May 13.
The phony entity is believed to have requested upfront fees to remove restrictions on shares of stock that investors own, or to release funds purportedly being held by the U.S. government on investors' behalf, the SEC said.
Other names the scammers may be using are the "U.S. Securities Administration" or the "U.S. Securities Bureau."
In conversations with members of the public, the entity may have represented its address as 225 Franklin Street, Boston, Massachusetts. The entity also claims to operate a Web site at www.gov.ussea.us.
"It's not hard to figure out who the real regulators are and how you can contact them," the SEC alert said. "If you're ever unsure whether you're dealing with someone from the real SEC, use our online Question Form to ask us."