Victims of internet scams and phishing emails aren’t just stereotypical newcomers to the computer age who’ve never used email. According to a recent report, 45 percent of phishing scams detected in January 2012 spoofed banks.  Corporate fraud is also rampant on the World Wide Web. FINRA tells the story of a company who, in 2004, stole the name of a legitimated brokerage firm and created a virtual office using that name, including a phony website for their e-commerce scam and a fake Kansas City address. Investors were told they would be trading lesser stocks for shares of Yahoo stocks. Investors were then required to deposit money in an escrow account at the National Bank of Greece in Cyprus, and were told it was to comply with “short sale regulations.” Investors were told the money would be returned after the transaction was completed. Anyone looking up the registration of the firm by name would find a completely legitimately registered firm. Everything else besides the name, including the bank account where investors deposited their funds, was a scam. 
Best Practices: Keeping Safe from Corporate Fraud and Internet Scams
There is a decent list of things you can do to help protect yourself and your family from corporate fraud and internet scams. Some seemingly obvious, and some not so readily apparent.
- Do not reply to or click on a link in an email you didn’t expect to receive that asks for any of your personal information and do not share your personal information or account information in emails.
- If you think a website may not be legitimate, leave it immediately and report it as suspicious.
- Know who you are doing business with before you do business. Always research the brokerage firm, the individual broker and the investment you are considering before investing.
- Check your credit report every year and look for accounts you didn’t open or transactions you didn’t know about.
- Always review your account statements.
Help With Corporate Fraud
In the next blog in this series, I’m going to take a look at what you can do to help protect yourself from scammers and internet con-artists by protecting yourself when you go on line. Please, if you are not getting anywhere with resolving securities issues on your own, call S. David Anton of Anton Legal Group!
S. David Anton, Esquire is a Certified Arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), formerly the NASD, which is the national organization responsible for overseeing the securities industry. He has served as a Judge/Panelist and rendered decisions in many securities arbitration cases, giving him a unique perspective on his client’s individual situation.
FOR SECURITIES ADVICE, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT DAVID ANTON OF THE ANTON LEGAL GROUP AT 813-443-5249.
 SymantecCloud, Symantec Intelligence Report, January 2012.