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Beware of Communications Falsely Appearing to Come from the SEC – Investor Alert

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn you of communications – including phone calls, voicemails, emails, and letters – that may falsely appear to be from the SEC.  

We are aware that several individuals recently received phone calls or voicemail messages that appeared to be from an SEC phone number.  The calls and messages raised purported concerns about 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.  The SEC does not seek money from any person or entity as a penalty or disgorgement for alleged wrongdoing outside of its formal Enforcement process.

How can I confirm that I am dealing with the SEC?  If you receive an unsolicited communication from someone claiming to be from the SEC, use the SEC’s personnel locator at (202) 551-6000 to reach the staff member directly and ask the person if the communication was from them.  You can also call (800) SEC-0330 or email to check if a communication is from the SEC.

SEC staff do not make unsolicited communications – including phone calls, voicemail messages, or emails – asking for payments related to enforcement actions, offering to confirm trades, or seeking detailed personal and financial information.  Be skeptical if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the SEC and asking about your shareholdings, account numbers, PIN numbers, passwords, or other information that may be used to access your financial accounts.  Again, never provide information to someone claiming to be from the SEC until you have verified that the person actually works for the SEC.

Beware of government impersonator schemes.  Con artists have used the names of real SEC employees and email messages that falsely appear to be from the SEC to trick victims into sending the fraudsters money.  Impersonation of U.S. 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.

If you receive a communication that falsely appears to be from the SEC, submit a complaint at to the SEC’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) or call the OIG’s toll-free hotline at (833) SEC-OIG1 (732-6441).

Additional Information

Investor Alert: When Engaging With the SEC on Social Media, Use Our Verified Accounts and Be Alert for Impersonators (Sept. 2018)

Investor Alert: SEC Impersonators Pretend to Help Investors Buy Stock (Apr. 2018)

Investor Alert: Beware of Government Impersonators Targeting Fraud Victims (June 2016)

Updated Investor Alert: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators Demanding Money (Aug. 2015)

Visit, the SEC’s website for individual investors.

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This Investor Alert represents the views of the staff of the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. It is not a rule, regulation, or statement of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”). The Commission has neither approved nor disapproved its content. This Alert, like all staff guidance, has no legal force or effect: it does not alter or amend applicable law, and it creates no new or additional obligations for any person.
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