The Securities & Exchange Commission today announced that it updated its list of unregistered entities that use misleading information to solicit primarily non-U.S. investors, adding 29 soliciting entities, three impersonators of genuine firms, & one bogus regulator.

The SEC’s list of soliciting entities that have been the subject of investor complaints, known as the Public Alert: Unregistered Soliciting Entities (PAUSE) list, enables investors to better inform themselves & avoid being victims of fraud. The latest additions are firms that SEC staff found were providing inaccurate information about their affiliation, location, or registration. Under U.S. securities laws, firms that solicit investors generally are required to register with the SEC & meet minimum financial standards & disclosure, reporting, & recordkeeping requirements.

“The PAUSE list is a valuable tool for retail investors to use when making their investment decisions,” said Jose M. Rodriguez, Chief of the SEC’s Office of Market Intelligence.  “Investors should be aware that fraudsters often mimic genuine firms by using imposter websites.”

In addition to alerting investors to firms falsely claiming to be registered, the PAUSE list flags those impersonating registered securities firms & bogus regulators who falsely claim to be government agencies or affiliates.  Inclusion on the PAUSE list does not mean the SEC has found violations of U.S. federal securities laws or made a judgment about the merits of any securities being offered.

The PAUSE list is periodically updated by the SEC’s Office of Market Intelligence, in coordination with the Office of Investor Education & Advocacy & the Office of International Affairs.

How to protect yourself:

Fraudsters often impersonate organizations or individuals to lure victims into scams. They may impersonate government agencies or employees, or legitimate investment professionals like brokers & investment advisers. Impersonators may be part of an advance fee scam or may use personal information they obtain to steal an individual’s identity or misappropriate their financial assets. Investors should be aware of these impersonation schemes.