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The Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled a public service announcement to encourage investors to check the background of their investment professional by using the free search tool on Investor.gov before investing.

Investor.gov, an SEC website dedicated to individual investors, provides tools and resources to help investors invest wisely and avoid fraud.

“It can be hard to spot a fraudster, and Investor.gov‘s free search tools can help investors verify that they are dealing with a registered investment professional,” Lori Schock, director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, said in a statement. “Investors who check the background of their investment professional and use the other tools and resources available on Investor.gov can make more informed investment choices and better protect themselves from fraud.”

The PSA’s storyline involves a couple seeking advice from an alleged investment professional who turns out to be a fraud. At first, the investment professional seems genuine, but as the conversation continues his fraudulent scheme quickly unravels. He uses high-pressure sales tactics typically a red flag of fraud to persuade the couple to invest.

The PSA also stresses that most fraudsters are not this easy to spot and encourages investors to visit Investor.gov before investing.

More than 9 million new users have used Investor.gov since it launched in October 2009. The SEC expanded its outreach program in 2016 to include PSAs to reach and educate more investors. Since that time, the SEC says the traffic on the site has increased by 86%.

— Check out SIFMA Announces Principles to Safeguard Customer Data on ThinkAdvisor.