Spam is unsolicited electronic mail sent to a large number of addresses, usually advertising some product, service, business, website, scheme or strategy. Stock spams are the electronic equivalent of a boiler room sales operation in which someone who doesn't know you tries to sell you securities, like penny stocks, or puts aggressive—and suspect—messages on an electronic message board to spur your interest in a company.
While FINRA does not prohibit its member brokerage firms or their employees from sending out spam, it does regulate the content of such messages sent to the public. In any communication with the public, our rules require that a member identify itself and that investors be given enough information to make a sound investment. Our rules prohibit statements making promises.
Remember, though, that FINRA can only regulate the actions of its member brokerage firms and their employees. While all U.S. brokerage firms have to be members of FINRA to do business with the public, most problem spams are likely sent to you by non-regulated businesses or individuals.
Use BrokerCheck to check if the firm or individual spamming you is currently or formerly registered with FINRA or a national securities exchange, or with a current or former investment adviser firm.
If you think that the problem spammers may be registered with FINRA, you can forward spam or junk email recommending that you invest in a stock or other investment to email@example.com.
If the spammers are not registered with FINRA, you can report them to the SEC through the SEC's Tips, Complaints and Referrals Portal. Use the "Add Documents" feature at the bottom of the form to include copies of junk email or message board postings.
Return to the FINRA Investor Complaint Center Home page.