The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help investors identify fraudulent investment offers made by firms purporting to have met with the SEC, including in international locations (such as Dubai). SEC staff is aware of a number of fraudulent schemes where the person offering the so-called investment refers to meetings with the SEC as a way of convincing potential investors that the fraudulent investment opportunity is legitimate. The SEC does not "approve" or "endorse" any particular securities, issuers, products, services, professional credentials, firms, or individuals, and does not allow private entities to use its government seal.
While staff of the SEC regularly meets with public companies, regulated entities, and others, the SEC never endorses an investment. Any claim – stated or implied – that the SEC has endorsed an investment is false and is likely part of a fraudulent scheme.
In addition to the above tactic that fraudsters may use to trick investors, the following "red flags" indicate that an investor should proceed with extreme caution:
Be skeptical and research every aspect of an offer before making a decision. Investigate the investment thoroughly and check the truth of every statement you are told about the investment. Never rely on a testimonial or take a promoter's word at face value. You can check out many investments using the SEC's EDGAR filing system or your state's securities regulator. You can check out registered brokers at FINRA's BrokerCheck website and registered investment advisers at the SEC's Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website. See our publication "Ask Questions" for more information you should gather before making an investment.
To report a possible securities fraud, ask a question, or report a problem concerning your investments, your investment account or a financial professional, please visit http://www.sec.gov/complaint/select.shtml.
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The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided this information as a service to investors. It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy. If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.