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SCC News

SCC Encourages Virginians To Use Caution When Investing Online

MAR 05, 2021

RICHMOND – Powerful smartphones, countless apps, and online finance options have made investing more convenient than ever. With the click of a mouse or press of a button, Virginians can check investment account balances, buy investment products and services and much more while on-the-go. These conveniences have, unfortunately, given scammers new ways to separate investors from their money. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) encourages all Virginians to treat internet security seriously when they invest using online resources.

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) recently issued an investor awareness advisory to help investors better understand the potential threats to their online financial accounts and how to protect themselves from cybercriminals. The advisory addresses several threats that investors should be aware of, including:

  • Data breaches, including incidents that may expose confidential or protected information, as well as the possible loss or theft of private data that can be used to steal consumers’ identities and assets.
  • Phishing scams, which involve scammers using fraudulent emails, text messages, or phone calls to impersonate legitimate people and entities to trick consumers into giving out personal information.
  • Skimming, which involves the use of technology fraudulently installed into a debit or credit card reader to obtain personal PIN numbers and other account-holder information.
  • Public Wi-Fi scam, which involves the potential loss of personal financial information when using public Wi-Fi networks to shop online or access personal information.

The SCC’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Division) offers a full list of resources that investors may use to keep themselves safe online. Before making any investment decisions, ask questions, do your homework and contact the Division at 804-371-9051 in Richmond or toll-free at 1-800-552-7945. For more information, visit the Division’s website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Consumer-Investments or the North American Securities Administrators Association’s website at nasaa.org..

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Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

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SCC Highlights National Consumer Protection Week

FEB 26, 2021

RICHMOND – Few observances align as closely to the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) mission as National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), an occasion which aims to help people understand their consumer rights and make smart choices with their finances. NCPW, held from February 28 to March 6 this year, combines the efforts of the Federal Trade Commission and other federal, state, and local agencies and organizations – including the SCC – to promote making well-informed consumer decisions.

The SCC reminds Virginians that it stands ready year-round to answer inquiries, handle complaints, and provide information and assistance regarding industry sectors over which it has regulatory responsibility. Those sectors include insurance companies and agents, state-chartered financial institutions, investment firms and their representatives, retail franchises and investor-owned utilities providing electric, natural gas, water, and sewer, along with non-cellular and non-internet telecommunications services.

The SCC also offers many consumer guides and financial information resources on topics like mortgage loans and deposit account information, purchasing insurance, and more. Its specially trained staff can assist Virginians in making informed choices and, if necessary, submitting a complaint against regulated entities for things like an insurance company improperly denying a claim, a loan transaction or securities offering coming with an errant charge, or a utility company billing incorrectly.

The SCC encourages consumers to shop around and compare prices and terms; thoroughly evaluate any offer; keep written records of all transactions; find products and services that suit your particular needs; review statements and bills regularly; learn to spot scams, and verify that an individual or company is properly licensed or registered.

If a problem arises, the SCC urges consumers to try to resolve it with the regulated individual or company first. Consumers can contact the appropriate SCC division by phone, mail or email (using the online complaint) form if they still are not satisfied. Information about the complaint process along with related forms are available from the Consumers section of the SCC website at scc.virginia.gov. To contact the SCC by phone, call toll-free (in Virginia) at 1-800-552-7945 or in Richmond, call:

  • Bureau of Insurance – 804-371-9741
  • Bureau of Financial Institutions – 804-371-9657
  • Division of Securities and Retail Franchising – 804-371-9051
  • Division of Public Utility Regulation – 804-371-9611
  • Office of the Clerk – 804-371-9733
  • Division of Information Resources – 804-371-9141

In the event the SCC does not have regulatory authority over a particular firm, individual, product or transaction, its staff will assist consumers by referring them to the appropriate local, state or federal authority for assistance. These may include the Attorney General’s Office, local consumer protection office, law enforcement agencies, Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission’s toll-free helpline at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

To learn more about National Consumer Protection Week, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/.

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Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

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