False or Exaggerated Credentials
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) has issued an investor alert warning investors that fraudsters may misrepresent their education, titles and backgrounds with false or exaggerated credentials. These fraudsters make themselves appear to be legitimate in order to lure investors into investment schemes.
Investors should make sure that any financial advisor recommending or selling an investment opportunity to them is licensed and registered with the SEC and/or FINRA. Investors should check the person’s profile 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 claimed professional experience, credentials, or success as presented on the Internet and other media outlets. These online depictions may deliver a false image that DOES NOT give an accurate representation of who these fraudsters are in reality. Often, these persons are 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 here 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:
- Lawsuits or arbitration claims by customers
- Disciplinary history with a government regulator, state securities regulator or a self-regulatory organization for misconduct
- Complaints from previous customers
- 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.