FAQs

REGISTRATION

  • Can I request a Central Registration Depository (CRD) report on my broker/dealer or sales agent?

Yes, please contact the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority called FINRA

BrokerCheck FOIL

COMPLAINTS

  • What is the procedure for making a complaint regarding securities fraud with the Attorney General’s Office?

Your complaint must be received in writing. You must send a letter that explains all the details of your complaint. A complaint form is available by clicking here . Please attach all copies of supporting documentation. List all of the information that we will need to resolve your complaint as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

  • What can be expected after a complaint has been made?

After your complaint has been received by the Investor Protection Bureau, it will be reviewed and assigned to an Attorney or an appropriate representative to investigate your complaint. If it is determined that your complaint should be handled by a different Bureau or agency, the securities bureau will forward your complaint to the appropriate office and you will be informed of the decision.

Please note that the Bureau cannot represent individuals in private matters; instead we investigate and prosecute fraud on behalf of the public at large where we suspect a pattern of fraud affecting many investors.

  • Where should I send my complaint?

Please address your complaint to the Investor Protection and Securities Bureau Chief. Mail your complaint to: New York State Department of Law Office of the Attorney General, Investor Protection and Securities Bureau, 120 Broadway, 23 floor, New York, NY 10271. You may also fax your complaint to this office. The fax number for our bureau is (212) 416-8816, attention Complaint Unit.

  • How can I check to see if a broker or an issuer has a license to do business in New York State? How can I review their background?

You may get basic information over the phone by calling the Securities Bureau’s Record Department. The staff can only give basic answers, such as a salesperson’s employment history, exams/series taken and yes/no answers to confirm any disciplinary history.

Under the State Freedom of Information Law, most files maintained by this Bureau are available for your review. You may also obtain copies of information contained in our files. The first five copies are free with a fee of twenty-five cents ($0.25) per page thereafter.

If you are requesting a printout of any record maintained in the securities bureau, such as a disciplinary history, a CRD report or to inquire about complaints against a company or an individual you plan to do business, please write to this office. Address your request to Investor Protection and Securities Bureau Chief, NYS Department of Law Office of the Attorney General, Investor Protection and Securities Bureau, 120 Broadway, 23 floor, New York, NY 10271. You may also fax your request to this office. Our fax number is (212) 416-8816.

Please note, all records or some portions of records maintained by this Bureau may not be disclosed. If the information you are requesting is confidential, involves a pending investigaion, or if it is an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, your request may be denied

CORPORATIONS

  • Does the Bureau provide information on the value of old stocks or if the company still exists?

No, please contact the New York State Secretary of State.

PYRAMID SCHEMES

  • What are the differences between a legitimate multi-level marketing company and a pyramid scheme?

A legitimate multi-level marketing company emphasizes reliable products or services. A pyramid scheme uses products or services to disguise its quest for collecting money from the investors on the bottom levels to pay other investors further up the pyramid.

In a typical pyramid scheme, new investors must pay a fee for the right to sell the products or services as well as for the right to recruit others into the pyramid for rewards unrelated to products sales or services. Very often the products or services the victim must buy are unsalable, and the pyramid’s promoters refuse to repurchase them. On the other hand, legitimate multi-level marketings companies will buy back unsold merchandise, although often at a discount from the original price.

Success in multi-level marketing is based on two factors: product and service quality, and the hard work involved in being able to sell the products or services. Recruitment of new investors is secondary.

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