Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fake Restitution site - Beware

The Boston Globe reports that con artists have set up a website that mimics the website run by the Securities Investor Protection Corp, The fake website, when I looked is "temporarily closed." I don't know if it will re-open at this URL or will move. The Globe article, by Beth Healy, states, in part:

The phony group has created a website that looks similar to the one run by the Securities Investor Protection Corp.

The real SIPC is an insurance fund that covers up to $500,000 of investor losses if a brokerage firm fails. Yesterday, the SIPC said a fraudulent group had set up the website and was attempting to lure Madoff’s victims.

Among the claims on the fraudulent website: that $1.3 billion hidden by Madoff in Malaysia has been found. The phony group claims to have ties to the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund.

In a statement, the SIPC’s president, Stephen Harbeck, said, “This bogus group is already attempting to obtain funds and confidential financial information from investors in the U.S.’’ He said Madoff’s victims and others should not reveal any personal financial data on the I-SIPC site or rely upon it as a source of information. “We intend to use every available means to shut down this illicit operation,’’ Harbeck said.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission issued a statement about the group’s posing as an international branch of the SIPC. “Never underestimate the creativity and duplicity of con artists,’’ the SEC said. “They will do anything to separate you from your money and securities.
Another a very good rule to always be aware of those URL extensions! The .org compared to the .com is a clue whether you are at the right site. But it's hardly a hard-and-fast rule -- the folks who assign the Internet addresses do not seem to make any inquiries when you claim to be a not for profit organization.

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