Beware Imposters Posing as CFTC Officials
The CFTC will never ask for a fee or collect taxes. There’s no CFTC digital wallet that can send or receive crypto assets, and the CFTC does not ask for personal digital wallet information.
And, the CFTC does not ask for fees to investigate fraud complaints.
Unfortunately, these are just some of the ploys that fraudsters posing as the CFTC and its staff have used in attempts to swindle people out of their money. These “imposter frauds” often revictimize people who have already lost money to other schemes.
If you receive a message from the CFTC that demands or asks you for money, it is a fraud.
Fraudsters copy logos, seals, or images of signatures from official government websites and use them to create fake letterhead, documents, social media accounts, or email messages. They’ll even look up employee names and use them to forge signatures on fraudulent letters.
What can’t be faked are “.gov” or “.fed.us” government web domains or email addresses. Only government agencies can get and use these domain extensions.
If you receive an email from a government agency, examine the email domain or any web links carefully. Email from the CFTC will always be from @cftc.gov addresses — no exceptions. Government officials will never contact you using web-based email accounts, from Yahoo! or Gmail for example.
If someone calls you claiming to be from the CFTC, write down as much pertinent information as you can, but do not provide or confirm personal information about yourself, including account information, digital wallet private keys, or your social security number. End the call. Then, contact us to help you verify call.
The same precautions apply if you are contacted by the National Futures Association (NFA), other government agencies, courts, or attorneys claiming to have recovered money lost to fraud.
Do not click links included in supposed fraud recovery emails. If the message you receive is a phishing attack, then the links it contains will also be part of the fraud. Instead, do your own search for the organization’s official website or contact information and contact it directly.
Remember, the CFTC:
- Will never require you to wire money, send prepaid credit or gift cards, use digital assets such as bitcoin, or make other unusual forms of payment.
- Will never approach you with offers to recover money lost to investment scams. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, submit a complaint.
- Will never tell you your money has been recovered, but that you must pay a fee or a tax to get it back. You should never pay an upfront fee for fraud recovery services.
- Does not collect taxes from market customers. Individuals typically pay taxes due on trading activity when they file their income tax returns with the IRS.
- Does not ask trading platforms or brokers to collect funds from customers on the government’s behalf.
- Does not give advice on investment decisions.
- Does not take possession of customer funds.
- Does not issue “cryptocurrency trading licenses.”
- Does not audit or verify customers’ digital asset wallets, and would never ask for your private keys or seed phrases.
- Does not represent individual victims in fraud recovery efforts. Learn more about the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement.
To reduce your chances of becoming a victim of fraud, only trade with entities that are registered with federal or state regulators.
Cash-market crypto-asset trading platforms are required to register as money service businesses (MSB) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and with many states. Registration as an MSB means the platform has a U.S. headquarters and complies with recordkeeping requirements. The businesses have not been reviewed or approved by any federal agency.
Registration alone won’t protect you from fraud, but most frauds are committed by unregistered firms and individuals.