You have probably heard more warnings about scammers than you’d care to think about, but here are two more things to be aware of. First, someone tried to scam me recently. They somehow sent an email that appeared to be from a clients’ email address asking me to tell them the balance on their account and to send wiring instructions.
In this industry that’s actually a pretty common scam so I doubted it immediately. I called the client to verify and she let me know that she had not sent the email. We won’t wire any money out of your account without talking to you first and without you filling out the proper forms. Ever. Sometimes that is a hassle, but it’s a necessary precaution.
The second item to be vigilant about was reported in an SEC warning. Here are the main parts of it:
Securities and Exchange Commission staff is issuing this Investor Alert in response to a number of fraudulent solicitations currently underway that purport to be affiliated with or sponsored by the federal government and legitimate securities regulators. If you are contacted by an organization calling itself the “Chicago Division of Securities,” the “Division of Securities, Chicago Illinois,” the “Federal Division of Securities, New York” or the “New York Securities Division,” be aware that they are not affiliated with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are not legitimate securities regulators. They are scams.
Many government impersonators target investors who have already been victims of fraud. Often, the impersonators will claim to help investors recover their investment-related losses for a substantial fee disguised as some type of tax, deposit, or refundable insurance bond.
A characteristic of some of these fraudulent schemes to deceive and defraud unwary investors is the use of websites and email addresses ending in “.us” or “.org” and containing “.gov” as part of the domain address. We are not aware of any U.S. government agency that has a website or email address that ENDS in anything other than “.gov,” “.mil,” or “fed.us.” Investors should beware of any website or correspondence purporting to be from a U.S. government agency bearing an email address or website domain that does not end in “.gov,” “.mil,” or “fed.us.”
You can call the SEC at (800) SEC-0330 for general information, including information about SEC enforcement actions and any investor claims funds. Our online Question Form is another way you can ask us about a solicitation. You can find a directory of legitimate state and provincial regulators in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. on the website of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). A list of international securities regulators is on the website of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). Be wary of anyone who claims to work for a securities regulator that is not on these lists.