Phishing for Investors
A website set up to help investors recover stocks and cash from failed brokerage firms is now being used by crooks in phishing schemes.
The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which maintains a special reserve fund mandated by Congress to protect the customers of insolvent brokerage firms, is warning of new phishing schemes that use look-alike sites in an effort to lure investors into handing over personal information.
When a brokerage firm is being liquidated through SIPC, investors use the site to track down missing stocks or cash. SIPC President Stephen Harbeck stresses that brokerage firm liquidations handled through SIPC do not require investors to pay a fee to recover assets.
However, crooks have set up look-alike sites – posing as SIPC and promising investors help in recovering their assets. These fake sites do demand up-front fees for their phony “services.” Investors who pay the fees wind up getting no help with recovering their assets; they just lose the money they pay in fees.
This is a particularly nasty scam, since it takes advantage of a site that is designed to help investors at no charge. Harbeck said that the only legitimate site for SIPC is http://www.sipc.org.
Two fake sites that SIPC is aware of are Alliant Trust Systems (http://allianttrustsystems.org/) and IAC International (http://iacinternational.org/).
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