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Protect Yourself

Before You Invest

As an active member of the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA), STRATA Trust Company (STRATA) supports initiatives to help educate investors on how they can better protect their retirement savings against investment fraud and financial scams.


Investor Due Diligence

With a self-directed IRA, it’s important that investors complete their own due diligence on the investments and investment promoters/advisors that they choose to work with – before investing. Below are external links we have compiled with the information, tips and resources to help investors get started.

Stay Informed When You Invest

Do Your Research

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) know that even the most seasoned investors can fall prey to fraud.  Although they cannot directly advise on what investments to make, they do provide a variety of services and tools to help individuals invest wisely and spot potential fraud:

Be aware of precious metal schemes that are devised to deplete retirement savings, as precious metal investors are often targeted by fraudsters. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) lists common fraud tactics and helpful tips to avoid these scams:

As a self-directed IRA custodian, STRATA does not investigate the validity of an investment, the background of any investment promoter, or the accuracy of any financial information provided by the investment promoter (learn more about STRATA’s role as a Custodian).

Investors are highly encouraged to independently research the registration of investment firms in lieu of using hyperlinks provided by third parties. Secure, reliable methods of independent research include contacting your state’s securities regulator, utilizing the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck platform, and crosschecking investment entities with the SEC’s Action Lookup for Individuals (SALI) and Investment Adviser Public Disclosure platforms.Those shortcuts can be found here:


Proactive Data Security

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), every 14 seconds someone becomes the victim of identity fraud. No one is immune, but you can make it harder for cybercriminals by proactively protecting your personal information online and staying informed about common ways these criminals try to collect your information.

Protect Your Information

Identify Fraudulent Activity

Personally identifiable information, account information, and communications are prime targets for scammers. Ensure you are protecting your identity online, securing your account details at all times, and incorporating secure standards for email communications.

Here are a few resources about preventing data breaches:

Phony email addresses, a phone call or text claiming to be your bank, and bogus websites well-disguised as trusted sites are just some of the ways cybercriminals attempt to collect your personal information.

Below are some links from the FTC, NASAA, the IRS, and the CFTC that are geared towards helping investors identify possible fraudulent activity:

What To Expect From STRATA

One key way to identify the legitimacy of a communication attempt is by familiarizing yourself with the communication methods and security measures of all the financial institutions you associate with. If you are contacted by an organization in a way that isn’t one of that organization’s standard communication methods, that may be an indicator to raise your guard.

 

STRATA Does…

STRATA Does Not…

» Call or email for additional clarity as needed to process a transaction ONLY AFTER a request has been made by an account holder.

» Call or text requesting you to share your multifactor authentication information.

» Call, text, or email promoting any type of investment.

 

We strongly advise that you do not disclose any of your account details or security codes if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a trusted financial institution. If you do experience this, confirm the caller’s identity by hanging up and calling the organization back using the official phone number listed on their website.

Learn more about what STRATA does to protect your information and what you can do on our Security Policy page.


Do you think you’ve been a victim of fraud?

A majority of fraud victims do not report the incident, but reporting is important because it establishes a foundation for other victims and increases the likelihood of legal and/or criminal action against the fraudsters. USA.gov offers a directory for reporting scams to your local and federal government. In the instance of financial fraud, the SEC encourages you to submit a report directly to their agency as well. Do your part in stopping investment scammers by sharing tips, complaints, and referrals with the appropriate authorities.

The security of your account is our top priority.

At STRATA, we take fraudulent activity very seriously. To learn more about what to watch out for or ways to keep your investments safe from fraud please contact us.

866-928-9394

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