Securities, Commodities and Investment Fraud

Resources on How to Protect Yourself 
Related Organizations and Web Sites

Securities Fraud covers a wide range of illegal activities, all of which involve the deception of investors or the manipulation of financial markets.

Investment Fraud also covers a wide range of illegal activities, all of which involve the deception of investors or the manipulation of financial markets. Scammers often try to make a new venture sound like a sure-fire money-maker, but investments always involve risk.

Resources on How to Protect Yourself

Affinity Fraud: How To Avoid Investment Scams That Target Groups

A good description of affinity fraud, tips for avoiding these scams, commentary on recent schemes, plus where to go for help.

Ask Questions: Questions You Should Ask About Your Investments

A Guide for Seniors: Protect Yourself Against Investment Fraud

Useful guide explaining types of fraud, listing questions to ask, how to evaluate and where to go for help.

Check the Background of Financial Professionals

New from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), SmartCheck gives consumers easy access to free tools to check the background of financial professionals and stay informed on the latest fraud schemes – directly from those who regulate financial professionals. Using these tools can help the smart investor continue making smart investment decisions.

Consumer Guide to Financial Self Defense

This free publication is available to consumers at no cost through the General Service Administration's Consumer Catalog and has been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission for inclusion in the catalog. It provides consumers with the top 10 "red flags" to look for in order to avoid getting defrauded by a financial advisor, tips to avoid fraudulent practices, and a list of agencies/organizations to go to lodge a complaint against a financial advisor.

Foreign Currency Trading Fraud

One of the most common frauds the CFTC see is in foreign currency trading (Forex).

Internet Fraud: How to Avoid Internet Investment Scams

This web page tells you how to spot different types of Internet fraud, what the SEC is doing to fight Internet investment scams, and how to use the Internet to invest wisely.

Investing In Bullion and Bullion Coins

If you're thinking about investing in bullion or bullion coins, the FTC says your best bet is to research your options. Being uninformed can have costly consequences.

Investing in Collectible Coins

If you're thinking about buying collectible coins as an investment, the FTC has three words for you: research, research, research. Get tips to help you investigate before you invest.

Investing in Gold? What's the Rush?

The FTC says if you are interested in buying gold, do some digging before investing. Some gold promoters don't deliver what they promise.

Ponzi Schemes – Frequently Asked Questions

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Learn about Ponzi schemes and steps you can take to avoid them.

Protect Your Money: Check Out Brokers and Investment Advisers

Federal and state securities laws require brokers, investment advisers, and their firms to be licensed or registered. One phone call or web search may save you from sending your money to a con artist, a bad financial professional or disreputable firm.

Related Organizations and Web Sites

Certified Financial PlannerTM Board of Standards, Inc.

This website allows consumers to find a qualified Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP) professional and check if in the past, the planner has been subject of CFP Board's disciplinary action.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a federal government agency, regulates the commodity futures, commodity options, foreign currency trading, and swapstrading markets.

North American Securities Administrators Association

As the oldest international investor protection organization, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) provides tools to protect against investment fraud, with some tips especially for seniors.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Securities Fraud

A concise web page containing information on securities fraud awareness and prevention tips.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States.

The Investor.Gov Web site from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission provides information about what can be done to prevent and identify fraudulent activities related to investing.

Investor Protection Trust

The Investor Protection Trust provides independent, objective information to help consumers make informed investment decisions.

National Futures Association (NFA)

NFA is the industry wide, self-regulatory organization for the U.S. futures industry. They strive every day to develop rules, programs and services that safeguard market integrity, protect investors and help members meet their regulatory responsibilities.

OnGuardOnline: Online Investing

The internet allows investors to access account information 24/7 and quickly and inexpensively research investment opportunities. But the internet is not fail-safe. OnGuardOnline provides tips to help you invest safely online.

Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)

When a brokerage firm is closed due to bankruptcy or other financial difficulties and customer assets are missing, SIPC steps in as quickly as possible and, within certain limits, works to return customers' cash, stock and other securities.

U.S. Department of the Treasury: Frauds, Phonies, & Scams

This section of the Treasury Web site highlights examples of fraudulent schemes or scams that involve what are claimed to be securities issued or backed by the Treasury Department or another part of the United States Government. These scams have been directed at banks, charities, companies, and even individuals, by individuals or organizations seeking payment on the fraudulent securities.

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