Step aside, Internet schemers, the newest imposters on the block are phony phone callers from fake brokerage firms.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in its most recent investor alert warns that old-fashioned cold calls by brokerage firm imposters have caught on as the latest phishing trend.
“Recently, FINRA has received reports that scamsters are posing as employees of at least one well-known brokerage firm to obtain personal information,” FINRA reported. “In a new twist to Internet phishing schemes, which use spam email to lure you into revealing everything from Social Security numbers to financial account information, it appears that some fraudsters may be resorting to a time-tested method — the telephone call.”
Fraudsters using the scam start by cold-calling potential victims and posing as associates of a well-known brokerage firm. In some cases, people who have received these calls are actually customers of the legitimate brokerage firm, FINRA warns.
The fraudsters claim to offer information about certificates of deposit, citing yields well above the best market rates, according to the FINRA alert. “The imposters say their supervisor will follow up with more details about the CDs, and sometimes send potential victims applications and forms to transfer funds in an effort to collect additional information. Armed with this information, the fraudsters may attempt to steal the person’s identity or money from an account.”
Investors should never give personal information or authorize a transfer of funds to an unknown person who phones. To determine whether the caller is legitimate, FINRA advises investors to take these steps: