How to protect yourself

While the vast majority of investments and the people who pitch them are legitimate, it pays to remember, there are a few bad apples out there.

State and federal laws require securities brokers, advisers, firms and the products they sell to be registered or licensed. Security products can take many forms, including stocks, notes, bonds, some partnership interests, variable annuities, and viatical settlements.

Before you invest, protect yourself through these steps:

Ask for Registration Information

Ask for and receive information from a firm about the work history and background of the person handling your account, as well as information about the firm itself.

Run A Check

You can check the background of an investment professional through FINRA BrokerCheck. BrokerCheck allows you to confirm their licensing, registration, and whether an individual or firm has a history of complaints or regulatory problems.

You can also get this information by calling us at (800) 332-6148.

Verify Securities Product Registration

Most investors want to buy securities products that are registered with the SEC or with our office. Ask if their product is registered and with what regulator they are registered with. You can all our office at (800) 332-6148 to verify product registration.

You can find out whether a product is registered with the SEC by using the EDGAR database.

Get Details in Writing

You read the labels on your food, right? Why not find out what’s in your investments? Learn what you should look for at Your Investing Rights.

Write Checks to the Brokerage Firm

When you are ready to invest, make sure you write your check directly to the brokerage firm, not an individual. If you write a check to an individual, it’s easier for them to put in their own bank account.

Need more help?
  Call the Commissioner’s hotline at (800) 332-6148