The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned US investors about scammers that are impersonating SEC officials via phone calls, and messages, in order to glean sensitive financial information from the recipients.
According to the SEC, several individuals have been contacted by the con men regarding unauthorized transactions or other suspicious activity in the recipients’ checking or cryptocurrency accounts.
“These phone calls and voicemail messages are in no way connected to the SEC. If you receive a communication that appears to be from the SEC, do not provide any personal information unless you have verified that you are dealing with the SEC,” warned the SEC via an alert.
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The alert was issued by the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA), which is the SEC department that helps individual investors protect themselves from securities fraud.
The OIEA advises investors to be skeptical when contacted by someone who claims to be from the SEC, and asks for details about an individual’s shareholdings, account numbers, PIN numbers, passwords, or other information that may be used to access their financial accounts.
“Impersonation of US Government agencies and employees (as well as of legitimate financial services entities) is one common feature of advance fee solicitations and other fraudulent schemes. Even where the fraudsters do not request that funds be sent directly to them, they may use personal information they obtain to steal an individual’s identity or misappropriate their financial assets,” says the SEC.
While the OIEA alert is specific to the fraud perpetrated in the name of the SEC, its advice is useful to individuals from all over the world. Recipients should always adopt a questioning attitude towards individuals soliciting sensitive financial information, even more so when they claim to be representatives from organizations such as the SEC.
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