News & Insights

Finra Issues Guidance

FINRA recently issued Regulatory Notice 20-30 “Fraudsters Using Registered Representatives Names to Establish Imposter Websites.” The Notice warns of individuals maliciously using publicly available information regarding registered representatives in order to create “imposter websites” exhibited as the registered representative’s personal website. Through these “imposter websites,” individuals are able to collect personal information from potential customers with the likely goal of committing financial fraud.

The Notice outlines several characteristics of the imposer websites, such as poor grammar or misuse of financial services terminology. Common features also include: (1) using the registered representative’s name as the domain name for the website (e.g.,; (2) including a picture purporting to be the registered representative; (3) providing information about the registered representative’s employment history, including prior employers and examination history; and (4) asking individuals to fill out a contact form with the individuals’ names, email addresses, and phone numbers.

In addition to providing common characteristic of the imposter websites, the Notice also outlines actions firms and registered representatives can take to monitor for and address these issues. For instance, FINRA recommends that member firms and registered representatives conduct periodic web searches using the registered representatives’ names; report an attack to the nearest Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center; and seek the assistance of a cybersecurity specialist, attorney or consultant who has experience with this type of fraud.  Registered representatives should not only be doing this to protect customers, but also to protect their brand and reputation.