WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 17, 2011 - 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."
SIPC said that it has referred this scheme to the proper authorities for investigation.