National Consumer Protection Week: Safely Leverage Today’s Money Management Tools


By: Ryan Corbin, Fall 2014 Student Intern

compHave you ever used the internet to buy an investment? Just because you are buying an investment online, don’t forget what the Investor Advocacy Clinic has taught you.  Remember:

1) Do your homework.  Don’t just believe what you’ve read online.  Check the SEC’s EDGAR database and call your state securities regulator to make sure the investment is legitimate.

2) Check the people out.  Many fraudsters are repeat offenders.  Run a search to see if the person or company has had any run-ins with the SEC.  Also, use BrokerCheck to see if the person or entity is registered with FINRA and if they have any disciplinary history.

3) Find out where the stock trades.  Stocks that don’t trade on the national exchanges are generally the most risky and most susceptible to manipulation.

For other ways to protect yourself while investing online click here.   If you have any issues with your online investment account or suspect an investment scam, file a complaint with the SEC.  For information on common online scams, click here.

Even if you don’t invest online, I bet you have a checking account. Many consumers are complaining about unauthorized withdrawals from their checking accounts.  Fraudsters will call saying that you have won a free prize or qualify for a major credit card.  Then the fraudsters will ask for the numbers at the bottom of one of your checks.  Once the fraudster has your checking information, they will draft money out of your account much like a check.  However, unlike a check, the draft does not require your signature.  Legitimate autodrafts make our lives easier by paying our bills for us.  Just be careful not to give your checking information to anyone you’re not sure about.

For more information on automatic debit scams, please click here.