Customer Protection Entity
SIPC staff are aware of a number of financial scams in which fraudsters claim to be a customer protection entity in order to trick victims, including non-U.S. investors, into giving the fraudsters access to brokerage accounts and personally identifiable information, and into sending money and other financial assets. Impersonation of legitimate companies is one of several characteristic features of advance fee fraud solicitations and other fraudulent schemes. Even where the fraudsters do not request that funds be sent directly to them, they may use the personal information they obtain to steal the individual’s identity and then misappropriate his or her financial assets.
Some fraudsters have claimed to be customer protection entities and have created realistic looking websites to reinforce their claims of legitimacy.
Misuse of SIPC’s Name
There are also instances where fraudsters, posing as legitimate broker-dealers or as representatives of SIPC, ask for money to facilitate the return of a victim's cash of securities.
Customers will never be asked by SIPC to pay any amount to assist in the recovery process in a liquidation proceeding or to process customer claims.
False Claims of SIPC Membership
SIPC staff are also aware of financial scams in which fraudsters claim to be SIPC member broker-dealers. To find out if your brokerage firm is a SIPC member, check SIPC’s List of Members or Contact Us. There is no SIPC protection available for customers of non-SIPC member broker-dealers.
If you have been contacted by someone falsely claiming to be a SIPC member, please contact us.
The news releases below describe specific instances of scams involving the misuse of SIPC’s name, including the types of fraud described above.
Beware of "Phishing" Scams Run Through Look-Alike Web Sites Imitating SIPC
Advance-Fee Payment Requirement is a Big Tip-Off: Victims, Potential Investors Warned Not to Share Personal Data on Phony "Look-Alike" Web Sites.
SIPC Issues Warning On "Phishing" Scam Targeting Investment Scam Victims
Victims and Potential Investors in Scams Targeted by Phony "SIPC Agents"
Update: Warning Re-Issued On Bogus "SIPC Checks" Targeting U.S. Consumers And Job Seekers
Phony Checks Now Showing Up in Connection With Jobs Advertised on Craigslist
SIPC Exposes Phony "Look-Alike" Web Site Targeting Madoff Victims
Victims, Other Investors Cautioned Against Providing Information Via Web Site; Bogus Claims Made About Recovering "$1.3 Billion Discovered in Madoff Hideout"
If you believe you have been the victim of an online fraud you can report it to the F.B.I.’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.