By Patricia Uceda, Spring 2015 Graduate Research Assistant
Have you seen the SEC’s seal on an investment product? If so, beware. The SEC has learned that investment fraudsters are using the SEC seal as a way to convince investors that their frauds are legitimate, and you should avoid them at all costs.
According to an Updated Investor Alert, “The SEC does not ‘approve’ or ‘endorse’ any particular securities, issuers, products, loans, services, professional credentials, firms or individuals, and does not allow private entities to use its government seal.”
Therefore, if you see the seal being used as a way to endorse a specific product or firm, you are probably dealing with a fraudster. Even if correspondence claims to be signed by an “SEC Inspector General” or an “SEC Commissioner,” always double check.
To check whether a letter or correspondence claiming to be from the SEC is legitimate, submit a question to the SEC or call them at 1-800-SEC-0330. If you want additional information about the unauthorized use of regulator seals by fraudsters, go here. Lastly, to report a possible securities fraud please visit the SEC complaint center.