The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has announced the first-ever SmartCheckSM Week. During the week of April 6-12, 2015, CFTC staff will highlight efforts to encourage investors to check the background of financial professionals before investing their money. Through advertising, social media, and targeted outreach, the CFTC will urge investors to visit SmartCheck.gov during SmartCheckSM Week and to make this part of a routine step when considering a new financial professional and with established advisors.
“If they are not careful, even experienced investors can be fooled by people who offer investment advice, but are actually not registered or licensed financial professionals,” CFTC Chairman Timothy Massad said. “With only 19 percent of investors reporting that they confirm an advisor’s certifications and only 17 percent checking for past violations, we encourage all investors to use the tools on SmartCheck.gov to check their financial advisors’ backgrounds before putting their hard-earned savings at risk.”
CFTC SmartCheckSM is a national campaign that launched in November 2014 to help investors identify and protect themselves against financial fraud. The comprehensive campaign includes the new website SmartCheck.gov. The website provides tools that enable investors to check if a current or prospective financial professional is licensed or registered, or if the professional has ever been subject to disciplinary action. The website also includes information on the red flags that could signal that investors might be dealing with a fraudster and information about investing.
Visitors to SmartCheck.gov can also test their susceptibility to fraudulent pitches via interactive videos that allow investors to experience a simulated investment sales pitch and decide if they wish to continue the conversation.
“Investors now have ways to recognize the red flags that indicate a potential problem,” CFTC Consumer Outreach Officer Michael Herndon said. “SmartCheck.gov provides a great tutorial on those red flags, as well as the tools investors need to follow up on them.”
For the official announcement, click here.