In a press release, the agencies said fraudsters may falsely claim to be registered with the SEC, FINRA or a state securities regulator in order to lure investors into scams, or even impersonate real investment professionals who are actually registered with these organizations.
Fraudsters may misappropriate the name, address, registration number, logo, photo, or website likeness of a currently or previously registered firm or investment professional. They try to trick investors into believing that they are registered by using a number of tactics, including the following:
- Spoofed Websites. Fraudsters may set up websites using URL addresses or names similar to those of registered firms or investment professionals to trick investors into believing that the fraudsters are registered or that the fraudsters are affiliated with a registered firm or investment professional.
- Fake Profiles on Social Media. Fraudsters may set up profiles impersonating registered investment professionals on popular social media platforms and then message investors to solicit their money.
- Cold Calling. Fraudsters may set up boiler rooms with teams of people cold calling investors to solicit their money while claiming to be employees of registered firms. The fraudsters may use technology to make it appear they are calling from the firm’s location.
- Misrepresenting or Falsifying Documents. Fraudsters may recruit investors by misrepresenting that their firm was registered with the SEC, including pointing to the firm’s Form D filings to support the misrepresentation