Beware SIPC 'insurance investment claim' e-mail

Scam Watch

August 10, 2008|By Dan Thanh Dang

The Securities Investor Protection Corp., which protects investors from losses if brokerage firms fail, is warning investors about a new identity theft scam designed to gain confidential information and cash from unsuspecting individuals.

SIPC officials are investigating phony e-mail messages sent by a supposed "senior investment adviser" claiming to act for an actual SIPC member. The SIPC member and brokerage firm named in the e-mail have nothing to do with the scam, the SIPC said.

The e-mail involves an "insurance investment claim" and asserts that the brokerage firm is acting on behalf of SIPC in order to return funds to the recipient of the e-mail. In order to get the necessary information needed to file the claim, the e-mail includes a fake SIPC "Beneficiary Information for Automatic Deposits of Payment" form that requires you to share information that could be used to withdraw funds directly from your accounts. The phony form also includes a false routing number: SIPC 4531/09 (4-00).

"This is a scam - pure and simple," said SIPC President Stephen Harbeck. "It does not relate to any actual liquidation of a brokerage firm. There is no address provided for correspondence. There is no reference to a specific brokerage firm failure. No one should provide the kind of personal information asked for in this case without first being 100 percent sure that it is coming from a valid entity."

Investor reports about e-mail that may have been falsely sent in the name of the SIPC should be directed to vdrew@sipc.org. Investors receiving any such suspicious e-mail are encouraged to forward the original e-mail to SIPC.

To learn more about how SIPC brokerage account liquidations actually work, go to www.sipc.org.

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