Criminals masquerade as financial advisors to sell illegal investment products. They use personalities, sales skills, and the names of legitimate companies to convince you to buy what they are selling. You can protect yourself from their predatory sales tactics by demanding proof they are licensed to sell investment products or advice.
Step one is to obtain their CRD (Central Registry Depository) number or their IARD (Investment Advisor Registry Depository) number. Step two is to use the number to check their licensing at www.finra.org. To be safe, you should also check them out by contacting your state’s Securities Commissioner. You want to know if they are currently licensed and if they have any investor complaints on their record.
Contact the SEC (www.sec.gov), FINRA, or your state’s Securities Commissioner if the advisor is unable to provide a CRD or IARD number or the number proves to be fake.
Also, don’t assume the products they are selling have been registered with the proper authorities. A lot of criminals use forged prospectuses to convince people to buy illegal investments. Again, check the products with FINRA and your state’s Securities Commissioner to make sure they have been registered for sale in your location.