The Securities and Exchange Commission is warning financial services firms about con artists who may use the names of actual SEC employees to mislead potential victims. The agency also is providing information to help potential victims protect themselves from SEC impersonators.
In some instances, investors in the U.S. and abroad have been tricked into revealing private information, giving fraudsters access to their brokerage accounts and even sending money and other assets to imposters. In other instances, unknown individuals have attempted to impersonate SEC examiners to gather confidential information from broker-dealers and investment advisers. Imposters have contacted firms by telephone, identified themselves as members of the SEC staff and demanded immediate access to the firm’s records, sometimes claiming to be conducting an “emergency” examination.
Advisors should be aware that the SEC never makes or endorses investment offers or participates in money transfers. Nor does the SEC send e-mails asking for detailed personal information, or financial information such as PIN numbers.