August 6, 2013 / 4:40 PM / 6 years ago

Wall Street watchdog says scammers going retro with phone calls

Richard Ketchum, Chairman and CEO of FINRA, speaks during the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in New York June 4, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street’s industry-funded watchdog on Tuesday warned that scammers are turning to a rather old-fashioned strategy for defrauding investors - the phone call.

“In a new twist to Internet ‘phishing schemes,’ which use spam email to lure you into revealing everything from Social Security numbers to financial account information, it appears that some fraudsters may be resorting to a time-tested method - the telephone call,” the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) said in a statement.

In several recent cases, swindlers posed as employees of a major brokerage firm and called people, asking for their financial account details and Social Security numbers. Some of the imposters advertised high-yield certificates of deposit and then sent phony forms to collect additional information, FINRA said.

The industry also recently faced a spate of incidents in which imposters posing as customers called brokerages to give wire-transfer instructions. Some brokerage employees wired client funds to the fraudsters, according to regulatory filings.

For consumers who get marketing calls from brokerages, FINRA recommends calling a compliance office or customer service center at the firm to confirm the call is legitimate.

The investor alert is called, “Cold Calls from Brokerage Firm Imposters - Beware of Old-Fashioned Phishing.”

Reporting By Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by John Wallace

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