“[C]heck the background of anyone selling or offering [you] an investment. No matter how good an investment may sound, verify that the person is currently registered or licensed and check his or her background.” This advice comes from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal agency responsible for overseeing the stock market in the United States.
Before you invest, it is important to gather as much information about the investment as possible. It is equally important to make sure you know the person who will be investing your funds on your behalf. Unfortunately stock broker and investment advisor fraud are both common, and no one – not even professional athletes or church parishioners – is immune from the risk of being targeted in an investment fraud scam.
5 Ways to Find Information About a Stock Broker or Investment Advisor
If you are thinking about investing through a stock broker or investment advisor, there are several sources of information you can use to help yourself make an informed decision. Some of the most-reliable sources of information about brokers and advisors include:
- Investor.gov – This is the SEC’s public database of registered investment professionals. You can search for an individual investment professional or a registered advisory firm, and you can find information about individual professionals’ employment history, registration status and disciplinary proceedings.
- BrokerCheck – BrokerCheck is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) database of registered investment brokers. BrokerCheck provides information similar to Investor.gov, and you can access BrokerCheck data through the SEC’s website.
- SEC Action Lookup – If a broker or advisor is or has previously been the target of civil or criminal enforcement action, you can find out more about the case through the SEC Action Lookup.
- Client References – Before you agree to work with a stock broker or investment advisor, ask for several client references. Call multiple references, and do not be afraid to ask questions about any concerns you may have.
- Friend and Family Recommendations – If you are in the process of looking for an investment professional, asking someone you trust for a recommendation can be a good option for finding an experienced and ethical broker or advisor.
Taking Action After Falling Victim to Investment Fraud
What if you suspect that you have fallen victim to stock broker or investment advisor fraud? If you believe that you may be a victim of investment fraud, it is important that you take action immediately. You may need to protect yourself against additional losses; and, in many cases, acting quickly can be essential to securing a financial recovery. For most individual investors, recovering fraudulent losses involves filing a claim in FINRA arbitration, and to maximize your chances of success you will want to work with an experienced investment fraud attorney.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation at Zamansky, LLC
If you need help and would like to speak with an investment fraud attorney for free, you can contact the law offices of Zamansky, LLC for a confidential initial consultation. Call (212) 742-1414 to request an appointment, or tell us how to reach you online and we will be in touch with you shortly.