The Securities Investor Protection Corp. is a nonprofit corporation formed by Congress to assist investors who have lost money through investment fraud in getting back money they have lost to swindlers and other investment criminals. They work with court appointed trustees to identify and distribute funds from criminals such as Bernie Madoff. SIPC is funded entirely by the legitimate brokerage industry and it does not charge the victimized investors for their services. Recently, the SIPC identified what it believes are two phony websites that appear to claim that they are doing the same work that SIPC does, but are done either at a fee or are merely phishing websites intended to lure victimized investors into providing personal information about themselves and their accounts which is used to make the victim a further victim of identity theft. The two websites named by SIPC are associated with Alliant Trust Systems and Investment Assurance Corp. Each of these websites indicate that Stephen Harbeck is the president of their respective companies. Harbeck is, in fact, the president of SIPC, but has no relation whatsoever with either Alliant Trust Systems or Investment Assurance Corp.
As always, before providing personal information or payments for any services, you should make sure that you are indeed dealing with a legitimate entity. A common trick of scammers is to use names of companies and agencies that sound legitimate or are even the slightest variations of the names of legitimate companies and government agencies. Always confirm that the company or agency with which you are dealing is, in fact, legitimate before ever providing personal information or money.