SIPC Issues Warning on "Phishing" Scam Targeting Investment Scam Victims

Victims and Potential Investors in Scams Targeted by Phony "SIPC Agents"

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which maintains a special reserve fund mandated by Congress to protect the customers of insolvent brokerage firms, issued a warning today to consumers who are contacted by individuals falsely claiming to represent SIPC when asking for personal information or payments in order to return funds lost in investment scams.

SIPC officials said they have been contacted by several individuals alerting them to this scam, some of whom have lost money in the past to investment scams or were contacted by promoters of such schemes and then declined to invest.  

In cases where an individual had lost money in the past to a fraudulent investment, they were contacted by email or phone and asked to pay a fee up-front to recover their lost money.  Within a few weeks of declining to pay the fee, they are contacted by someone claiming to be from SIPC saying they have seized the assets of the company that defrauded them and wish to return the money to investors.  The phony "SIPC agent" requests that the individual fill out a form with personal information and send it back.

SIPC President Stephen Harbeck reiterated: "When the liquidation of a brokerage firm is handled by SIPC, investors with missing stocks or cash do not pay a fee for recovery of those assets.  Any individuals contacted by supposed representatives of SIPC who request an upfront fee or personal information should be extremely wary."

For more information, contact SIPC at asksipc@sipc.org or (202) 371-8300.

SIPC said that it has referred this scheme to the proper authorities for investigation.

ABOUT SIPC

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation is the U.S. investor's first line of defense in the event a brokerage firm fails, owing customers cash and securities that are missing from customer accounts. SIPC either acts as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee in a brokerage insolvency case to recover funds.

The statute that created SIPC provides that customers of a failed brokerage firm receive all non-negotiable securities -- such as stocks or bonds -- that are already registered in their names or in the process of being registered. At the same time, funds from the SIPC reserve are available to satisfy the remaining claims for customer cash and/or securities held with the broker for up to a maximum of $500,000 per customer. This figure includes a maximum of $250,000 on claims for cash. From the time Congress created it in 1970 through December 2010, SIPC has advanced $ 1.6 billion in order to make possible the recovery of $109.3 billion in assets for an estimated 739,000 investors.

All investor inquiries of SIPC should be directed to asksipc@sipc.org or (202) 371-8300.

SOURCE Securities Investor Protection Corporation, Washington, D.C.




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