The Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC) issued a warning to investors who have been the target of an investment scam: The scammers might try to fleece you a second or even third time.
SIPC, which maintains a special reserve fund mandated by Congress to protect the customers of insolvent brokerage firms, said a number of investors who had lost money in investment scams or who had declined to invest in such schemes, had reported being contacted via phone or email by individuals who sought to collect an up-front fee from those investors in exchange for recovering the money they lost.
When the investors declined to pay the fee, within a few weeks they were again contacted by individuals who represented themselves as SIPC agents. These phony agents, using a fraud technique called phishing, claimed to have seized the assets of the company that cheated them and want to return the money to them. In order to do so, these fake agents say, the investors must fill out a form with personal information and send it back to them.
Stephen Harbeck, president of SIPC, emphasized, "When the liquidation of a brokerage firm is handled by SIPC, investors with missing stocks or cash do not pay a fee for recovery of those assets. Any individuals contacted by supposed representatives of SIPC who request an upfront fee or personal information should be extremely wary."
For more information, investors are asked to contact SIPC at [email protected] or (202) 371-8300.
SIPC also said that it has referred this scheme to the proper authorities for investigation.