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Investor Awareness

Fraud Advisory

Signs of a potentially fraudulent investment

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, financial fraudsters tend to target those with higher incomes who are self-reliant, college-educated, and optimistic or open to new ideas. As an individual that is saving for retirement, or near retirement, you can be at a higher risk for being targeted by a financial fraudster.

While it is ultimately your responsibility as the account owner to conduct due diligence and evaluate potential investments, we make our clients aware of investment fraud warning signs through education.

Signs of a potentially fraudulent investment:

  • It sounds “too good to be true”
  • Promise of excessive rates of return
  • Pressure to “act fast”
  • Incomplete investment documentation
  • Assurance that the investment is “safe and secure”

With assistance from the Retirement Industry Trust Association and regulatory education, Equity Trust has compiled a list of governmental and industry resources to help you combat fraud, as a self-directed investor.

U.S. SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) Investor Alerts and Bulletins:

Please note: Outside of FDIC insured investment products, all investments carry risk including loss of principal. No governmental agency or IRA custodian approves or guarantees investments.



Scam & Fraud Resources

Resources to help combat fraud

U.S. SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) Investor Alerts and Bulletins:

Due Diligence Information
Review and gain knowledge into investigating investment options, gathering information, and making informed decisions.

Identifying Scams, Ponzi Schemes & Other Fraud
Discover the questions to ask to spot signs of a fraudulent investment or scam.

Types of Schemes and Scams
Learn the different types of fraudulent investments and investment scams.

Check Before You Invest Checklist – A checklist developed by the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) for self directed investors.

Check Before You Invest Questions – Questions developed by the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) to help evaluate the soundness, prudence and merit of investments.

Fighting Fraud 101 – A free e-book on fraud prevention from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).


Reporting Fraud and Scams

If you know or suspect that you are the victim of investment fraud, please notify Equity Trust immediately by calling 888-382-4727. You should also file reports with the following key agencies:

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Your state’s regulatory authority, refer to the list of state regulatory offices provided by the North American Securities Administration Association (NASAA).

Equity Trust Company provides education to its clients to give them information to assist them with fraud awareness.

Additional References
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy helps provides information to help you invest wisely and avoid fraud, providing helpful examples of fraud.

U.S. SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) Investor Alerts and Bulletins:
The North American Securities Administrators Association is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection and offers many tips to help spot and avoid investment fraud.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States and provides resources to spot red flags.
A project of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, this unbiased resource site offers free tools dedicated to helping you make informed decisions regarding your financial health.
An organization dedicated to the well-being of Americans over the age of 50, the American Association of Retired Persons has many resources to help protect seniors against fraud.
The Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) is a professional trade association for the self-directed retirement plan industry that provides resources to help prevent fraud aimed at investors.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission provides information on reporting a Ponzi scheme, pyramid scheme, high-yield investment program, fraudulent offering or other potential fraud or violation.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) lists consumer alerts for tax scams, phony tax arguments and identity theft scams.
Investor Protection Trust (IPT) is a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. Their primary mission is to provide independent, objective information needed by consumers to make informed investment decisions.

Retirement Calculators

RMD and 401(k) Contribution Calculators

Available from the SEC website:

Available from