Investor Awareness Resources


revised 2012-04-24
Today more than ever it is important that owners of self-directed retirement plans conduct research to make informed decisions and avoid fraud, but where do you start?

For your convenience, a number of resources are available at  View and download free e-books “Fighting Fraud 101” from FINRA and “Seniors Against Investment Fraud (SAIF)” from the California Department of Corporations.

Additional resources provided by the SEC can be found at a new portal meant to route any types of tips of fraud, Tips, Complaints, and Referrals.

FINRA/AARP Video - “Tricks of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud”. This is a 50 minute video containing tips for investors on avoiding fraud. You may also order this video here free of charge.

Watch Tricks of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud on PBS. See more from MPT Specials.

Here are some other resources that can be helpful: 800 732 0330 The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is dedicated to helping Americans protect their investments. 202 737 0900 The North American Securities Administrators’ Association (NASAA) provides information on investor education. 301 590 6500 The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has an “Investor” section on Smart Investing. 888 687 2277 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) includes a section on scams, fraud and consumer protection.


Be mindful of individuals who offer investments that are "approved by the government" or imply that because the transaction occurs through a custodian that the custodian approves the investment, that it is appropriate for you or that it carries little or no risk.

There are risks associated with any investment that is not FDIC-insured. Neither governmental agencies nor self-directed IRA custodians endorse specific investments. The fact that an investment is permitted in an IRA should not be used in determining whether the investment is appropriate for you.


  • Have you checked the investment history of the individual(s)/entity offering this investment?
  • Have you checked with the Secretary of State to ensure that this entity/company is in good standing
  • Have you consulted with an independent financial professional to ensure that this investment is suitable for you and meets your investment objectives?
  • Have you reviewed the consumer investor awareness resources provided above?

NEW UPDATE: Safe Investment Checklist and Investor Awareness Questions, provided by The Retirement Industry Trust Association to assist investors with their due diligence in avoiding fraud and determining their investments. Use this checklist and these questions to help you understand your investment goals and identify suspicious behavior.

Of course, the resources and issues identified above are not intended to be all-inclusive, but they should give you a head-start on reducing the risk of the investment decisions that you make for yourself and your self-directed retirement account.

Please use this video as a helpful reference for identifying and protecting yourself from fraud!

This notice is not intended to be nor should it be construed as investment advice, nor should this notice or the resources
cited above be considered the ultimate authority with respect to your investment decisions.  If you feel that you need specific investment advice, we encourage you to consult with an independent financial professional when considering an investment to ensure that your investment is suitable for you and fits within your investment objectives.