You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

SEC's fake coin offering site shows what scams look like

CNBC logo CNBC 5/16/2018 Sarah O'Brien

There's a website out there touting a hot initial coin offering, and it happens to be bogus.

So who created it? The Securities and Exchange Commission.

HoweyCoins.com, set up to mimic other too-good-to-be-true coin offerings that have surged during the rise of bitcoin and other digital currencies, is a bogus site intended to help investors recognize investment scams.

The site details how investors can get in on the offer, which purportedly combines blockchain technology and travel. It even says HoweyCoins are registered with the U.S. government and will trade on an SEC-compliant exchange.

The site also includes aspects that regulators view as common enticements to fraudulent offerings, such as a complex white paper, promises of guaranteed returns and a countdown clock showing how long you have left to get in on the deal.

When investors click on "Buy coins now" they are taken to an SEC site explaining they were about to be duped.

"We embrace new technologies, but we also want investors to see what fraud looks like, so we built this educational site with many of the classic warning signs of fraud," said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in a public statement.


AdChoices
AdChoices

More from CNBC

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon