Ten Tips for Online Investors
When you invest online, be sure to:
- Receive full disclosure, prior to opening your account, about the alternatives for buying and selling securities and how to obtain account information if you cannot access the firm's website.
- Understand that most likely you are not linked directly to the market and that the click of your mouse does not instantly execute the trade.
- Receive information from the firm to substantiate any advertised claims concerning the ease and speed of online trading.
- Receive information from the firm about significant website outages, delays and other interruptions to securities trading and account access.
- Obtain information before trading about entering and canceling orders (market, limit, and stop loss) and the details and risks of margin accounts (borrowing to buy stocks).
- Determine whether you are receiving delayed or real-time stock quotes and when your account information was last updated.
- Review the firm's privacy and website security policies and whether your name may be used for mailing lists or other promotional activities by the firm or any other party.
- Receive clear information about sales commissions and fees and conditions that apply to any advertised discount on commissions.
- Know how to, and if necessary, contact a customer service representative with your concerns and request prompt attention and fair consideration.
- Contact Secretary of State Securities Division to (1) verify the registration/licensing status and disciplinary history of the online brokerage firm or (2) file a complaint, if appropriate.
To contact the Indiana Secretary of State's Securities Division, call toll-free 1-800-223-8791.