How to Report a Securities (Stock, Bonds, etc.) Fraud or Scam to the SEC

The SEC has an online center for complaints and enforcement tips.  Through this page you can file a complaint or provide the S.E.C with tips on potential securities law violations. The SEC wants to hear from you because your information may alert them to a bad broker or firm, an unfair practice in the securities industry that needs to be changed, or the latest fraud.

How Do I Reach the SEC?

There are several ways to file a complaint:

If you do not want to communicate electronically, either print and fill out a form or write us a letter. The address is:

SEC Complaint Center, 100 F Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20549-0213. You can also send a fax to 202-772-9295.

Whistleblower Protection:  If you work for a publicly-traded company and have been fired, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or discriminated against for reporting a potential shareholder fraud to a supervisor, federal regulator, or member of Congress, then please contact your local OSHA office right away. OSHA is the federal agency that investigates and handles these sorts of "whistleblower" complaints. (Note: don't expect a lot of protection!  Unless it is directly related to safety, there is not much protection)

What Information Should I Provide?

The SEC can best respond to you if you send accurate and complete information. Though you are not required to furnish any more information than you wish, critical information for us to completely evaluate your complaint or tip includes:

What Happens After I Send Information to the SEC?

They will review and evaluate your information so that it can be referred to the appropriate SEC office. The Office of Investor Education and Assistance will handle certain general questions about the securities laws and complaints relating to financial professionals or a complainant's personal financial matters. The staff in this office can counsel you regarding possible remedies and may, under appropriate circumstances, approach brokerage firms, advisers or other financial professional concerning matters you have raised.

Attorneys in the Division of Enforcement evaluate information and tips concerning violations of the federal securities laws. It is the general policy of the SEC to conduct its investigations on a confidential basis to preserve the integrity of its investigative process as well as to protect persons against whom unfounded charges may be made or where the SEC determines that enforcement action is not necessary or appropriate.

One thing the SEC will not do is tell you about any investigations they are conducting. Because they are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the SEC cannot disclose the existence or non-existence of an investigation and any information gathered unless made a matter of public record in proceedings brought before the SEC or in the courts. But you can find information about enforcement actions that have been made public on their Web site.

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