The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has announced the launching of a new video series “True Fraud Stories”, showing how illegitimate brokerages succeeded in scamming thousands of dollars from real investors. The American regulatory authority aims to educate traders about financial fraud.
The video below shows Bob Bauman, a military veteran with an advanced degree in business, telling of how he flew across the country to meet with a representative of the broker, who convinced him to participate in an attractive silver deal. The investment was supposed to enhance Mr. Bauman’s retirement savings. According to the CFTC announcement, Mr. Bauman’s research would have been more lucrative had he used the CFTC’s SmartCheck. There he could have seen whether the broker was authorized by the American regulator or not.
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Mr. Bauman commented that he had learned his lesson the hard way, and hopes his story will serve as a warning: “I hope my story helps other investors avoid a similar situation. In the future, my first step will be to check the background of any financial professional using the databases on SmartCheck.”
SmartCheck: CFTC’s New Gatekeeper
SmartCheck is the initiative of the CFTC’s Office of Customer Education and Outreach, where traders can look up the credentials and disciplinary history of online trading companies. Investors will also receive alerts and news, further protecting them from illegal operations.
The CFTC states that research regarding scam operations found that individuals fall victim despite their knowledge and experience. The new series dispels the myth that victims of financial fraud are naïve or inexperienced, and show that anyone can be an easy target.
Dan Rutherford, Director of the CFTC’s Office of Customer Education and Outreach, encouraged investors to use SmartCheck before funding an account or a trading with any online trading company: “Fraud is a crime. It is not about being greedy or gullible. The people who commit these crimes are professionals and very good at what they do. Eventually, they get caught, but too often it’s after the money disappears. That’s why we encourage all investors to take the one simple step of checking before investing. In addition to the victim videos, CFTC’s SmartCheck.gov offers resources and tools to help investors spot warning signs of fraud and a direct way to report suspicious activity.”