Attempts to pose as authority figures to get people to hand over cash are an age-old problem for the actual authorities, which is why the SEC is taking the latest scam very personally.
In a newly updated investor alert, the SEC "warns of government impersonators."
A lot of people are complaining that people pretending to be "SEC employees" are calling them to run a variant on what's become known as the Nigerian advance fee scheme: I have a fortune to give you if you give me a little money up front.
The SEC is understandably furious with the notion that their people are being impersonated.
As always, if any of your clients report any encounters with these people, remind them to check credentials and call the agency in question.
And this is a good time to remind them what the SEC does. And if it matters to you that they have the funding to keep doing their real job -- regulating investment advisors and protecting the public -- tell your clients that too.
The SEC definitely isn't in the business of asking for handouts from individual investors. But with all the hype out there about their budget woes, it's time to make sure your clients can separate truth from fantasy here.