A joint statement by the FBI and SEC warned that scammers are attempting to lure investors into scams by impersonating advisers or brokers. They use spoofed sites, faulty social media pages, cold calling scripts, and doctored forms. A portion of the statement read, “Fraudsters may falsely claim to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or a state securities regulator in order to lure investors into scams, or even impersonate real investment professionals who actually are registered with these organizations,” Some of these scammers have even taken the legitimate information of a previously registered firm and used it to try to pull off their scheme.
Individuals should further investigate any organization that reaches out and seems suspicious. This can be done by visiting investor.gov, and searching the business name or by reaching out to the seller on the companies Client Relationship Summary. Some signs to look out for when talking to an investment professional are:
- Guaranteed high investment returns: Promises of high investment returns – often accompanied by a guarantee of little or no risk – is a classic sign of fraud. Every investment has risk, and the potential for high returns usually comes with high risk.
- Unsolicited offers: Unsolicited offers (you didn’t ask for it and don’t know the sender) to earn investment returns that seem “too good to be true” may be part of a scam.
- Red flags in payment methods for investments: credit cards, digital asset wallets and “cryptocurrencies,” wire transfers and checks.