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CFTC launches national campaign to protect consumers from financial fraud

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The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has launched CFTC SmartCheck, a new national campaign to help investors identify and protect themselves against financial fraud. 

The comprehensive campaign includes a new website, a national advertising campaign and interactive videos that will help investors spot investment offers that are potentially fraudulent. The new website, SmartCheck.CFTC.gov, unveiled today, is an educational tool that helps investors conduct background checks of financial professionals.

“The CFTC is committed to protecting investors from fraud, and we demonstrate that commitment today with the launch of CFTC SmartCheck,” says CFTC Chairman Tim Massad. “This campaign provides investors with new interactive tools that include the website as well as a targeted advertising campaign and collaborative outreach with allied organisations.”

Over the coming months, the CFTC SmartCheck campaign will include online, television, and print advertising slated to run nationwide and additional outreach efforts with organisations aligned with the CFTC’s mission to reduce financial and investment fraud. The campaign will also feature special events to reach investors and encourage them to use the online tools available at SmartCheck.CFTC.gov. In addition to the background-check tools, the SmartCheck.CFTC.gov website includes a range of information for investors, including interactive videos that help illustrate how to avoid fraud.

Prior to SmartCheck.CFTC.gov, consumers had to consult a variety of databases from different government and self-regulatory organisations to conduct a thorough background check of financial professionals. With SmartCheck.CFTC.gov, this research is made far easier because the website acts as a portal and navigation tool.

The CFTC took action on fraudulent schemes that affected at least 30,000 investors between 2010 and 2013, with losses totalling more than USD1 billion. Notably, the majority of fraud schemes involved unregistered financial professionals. Investors who check whether or not a financial professional is properly registered or licensed can greatly reduce their chance of falling victim to a fraudulent scheme. The new CFTC SmartCheck website will help consumers identify those most likely to commit fraud.

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