SEC warns of phony Web site targeting Madoff fraud victims

Source: Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission is alerting investors about a Web site that falsely claims to have recovered $1.3 billion in funds hidden by convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff in Malaysia. The site asks Madoff victims to submit information to verify that they are on a refund list - a ploy commonly used by con artists to further rip off financial fraud victims.

The phony Web site claims to be home to the "International Security Investor Protection Corporation" — a fictitious entity. The "ISIPC" Web site bears a certain likeness to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation's (SIPC) Web site, mimicking its look, feel, and content in an attempt to achieve an aura of authenticity with Madoff victims. The "ISPIC" Web site claims to partner with several governments including the United States, and links to actual government Web sites to signify an affiliation. "ISIPC" also falsely claims to be sponsored by the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

"Investors who lose money in widely publicized schemes are often targeted by con artists looking to cash in on the victim's desire to recover losses," said Lori Schock, Director of the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. "Victims of fraudulent schemes should be aware that such refund schemes commonly exist, and can be perpetrated through copycat Web sites that appear similar to those of actual regulators or other organizations."

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