FINRA Alert Warns of Fake Websites using Brokers’ Names
Not long after an alert about a new fake FINRA domain that has an extra “n” in its domain name, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) warned that impersonators are also setting up fake websites using brokers’ names.
According to FINRA, several broker-dealers have recently informed the regulator about the sites, which use representatives’ names and other information to establish websites that appear to be the reps’ personal sites and apparently are calling and directing potential customers to use the fraudulent sites.
FINRA said in a Regulator Notice that impostors may be using these sites to collect personal information from the potential customers with intentions of possible fraudulent acts.
Similar features of the impostor websites include:
- using the registered rep’s name as the domain name for the website (e.g., firstnamemiddlenamelastname.com);
- including a picture purporting to be the registered rep;
- providing information about the registered rep’s employment history, including prior employers’ CRD numbers and exam history; and
- asking individuals to fill out a contact form with the individuals’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, the subject of the inquiry and space for a message. Some of the sites also contain poor grammar, misspellings, odd or awkward phrasings or incorrect usage of financial services terminology, FINRA said.
FINRA warns that bad actors could leverage the domains to send fake emails purporting to be from the registered rep and that may include phishing links or attachments containing malware. The regulator recommends that firms and advisors take steps to identify the impostor pages by conducting periodic web searches using registered reps’ names.
Some search engines also allow users to create alerts that automatically search for defined terms (e.g., a registered representative’s name) and inform the user of new activity.
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