Frequently Asked Securities Questions

Q: “What is a security?”
A:
A security is any type of investment opportunity which offers an investor the opportunity to receive profits from the efforts of others.

Q: “How do I know if a security is registered?”
A:
The Securities Division maintains a database of securities that have been registered. Call them at 803-734-9916.

Q: “Can I get information about a securities salesman or his company?”
A:
The Securities Division has access to a nationwide database of individuals and firms and can quickly find out the registration status of each. Call them at 803-734-9916.

Q: “If I feel I have been wronged or scammed by a securities salesman, what can I do?”
A:
Contact the Securities Division at 803-734-4731 to find out the procedures to follow to get your complaint properly addressed. Or, click on the Registering a Complaint section on this homepage to obtain further information.

Q: “How can I check to see if a financial planner is registered?”
A:
Many of these persons are required to register with the Securities Division before engaging in this activity. Call the Section at 803-734-9936 to verify the registration of the individual as well as the company he represents.

Q: “What do I do if I can’t get in touch with my broker?”
A:
The Securities Division, through its connection with a nationwide database, generally can find the current address, phone number and contact person of the brokerage firm as well as check on the current status of the individual. Call them at 803-734-9916.

Q: “My broker has gone out of business; what happened to my securities and money they were holding?”
A:
Call the Securities Division at 803-734-9916, Section Staff often can give you phone numbers and persons to contact regarding your account.

Q: “How do I stop securities salesmen from calling me all day long?”
A:
Each brokerage firm is required to maintain a “do not call list”. If you do not want that firm to call you anymore, request to be put on that list. If you can get the individual’s name and the name of his company, the Securities Division can verify their registrations. Call 803-734-9916.

Q: “Who do I call to find out if a person is registered to sell securities? To find out if a person is registered to give advice as a financial planner?”
A:
The Securities Division has access to a nationwide database of individuals who sell securities and maintains its own database of investment advisers. Call them at 803-734-9936.

Q: “How do I check to see if a security being offered is legitimate and not a scam?”
A:
All securities offered in this state must be either registered or exempted from registration before being offered or sold. Call the Securities Division at 803-734-9916 for this information.

Q: “I have some old stock certificates, how do I find out if they still have some value?”
A:
South Carolina corporations are registered with the Secretary of State’s Office, call them at 803-734-2170 to find out if that company is still in existence. If it is, the Secretary of State’s office can provide you a contact for further information.

Q: “How do I get licensed to sell securities? To charge fees for giving financial advice?”
A:
There are several criteria to meet in order to engage in either activity. Contact the Securities Division at 803-734-9916 to discuss these issues.

Q: “My company needs to raise capital. Is there anything I have to do before I start selling stock?”
A:
To find out the filing requirements of the state Securities Act, contact the Securities Division at 803-734-9916 or contact an attorney versed in securities law.

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Welcome to the on-line office for Attorney General Alan Wilson. Please visit the Contact Us page to stay in touch.

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Columbia, SC

Rembert Dennis Building | 1000 Assembly Street,

Room 519 | Columbia, S.C. 29201

Phone: 1-803-734-3970 | Fax: (803) 253-6283

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