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Beware of False or Exaggerated Credentials

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Investor and Advocacy (OIEA) has issued an investor alert warning investors that fraudsters may misrepresent  their education, titles and backgrounds with false or exaggerated credentials. They make themselves appear to be legit and lure investors into investment schemes.

Investors should make sure that any financial adviser recommending or selling  an investment opportunity to them is licensed and registered with the SEC. Investors should take a look at the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)’s BrokerCheck to see if the broker or financial adviser is listed.

The SEC strongly encourages investors to conduct research and due diligence on stockbrokers and financial advisers. Do not make investment decisions solely on a person’s professional experience and credentials or success claims presented on the Internet and other media outlets. These media depictions may deliver a false image that is really NOT the true picture of who these fraudsters are in reality. Often, they are deceptive scammers hiding under a false cloak of legitimacy. Their primary goal is to get you to invest your money in fraudulent investments that benefit them.

The SEC investor alert states that fraudsters may use some of the following tactics to exaggerate their credentials.

  • Fraudsters may misrepresent their education.
  • Fraudsters may lie about having been awarded honors that they have not
  • received or that do not even exist.
  • Fraudsters may pretend to hold certain professional titles to suggest that they have certain expertise or qualifications.
  • Fraudsters may appear as a guest commentator on financial television shows.
  • Fraudsters may use traditional media sources, the Internet, or social media to develop a public profile that gives them a false air of legitimacy.
  • Fraudsters may pretend that they have a certain position or title at a company.
  • Fraudsters may inflate their professional experience.

Investors can review the complete SEC investor alert at https://www.sec.gov/oiea/investor-alerts-bulletins/ia_credentials.html to learn more fraudsters and false or exaggerated credentials.

Selecting an honest and reliable stockbroker, financial planner or investment adviser is very important to any investor.  Investors should be careful when making their selections and be aware of any red flags that signal trouble or dishonesty.  Investors should avoid stockbrokers and financial advisers with a history of misconduct, which may include the following:

  1. Lawsuits or arbitration claims by customers
  2. Disciplinary history with a government regulator, state securities regulator or a self-regulatory organization for misconduct
  3. Complaints from previous customers
  4. Associated with a company that has been dismissed from the securities industry

If you feel uneasy about an investment opportunity or have become a victim of an investment scheme, contact the securities lawyers at Silver Law Group, a national Securities Arbitration & Investment Fraud Law firm. Their lawyers are admitted to practice in New York and Florida and represent investors nationwide to help recover investment losses due to security and investment fraud or stockbroker misconduct. The securities lawyers at Silver Law Group work hard to protect your money from the bad guys. Contact us at 800-975-4345.



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