The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) warned consumers of a scam in which stock salespeople directed would-be investors to phony Web sites that mimicked those of regulators, an Associated Press report said.
The report said NASD had received complaints from international investors who said they had been sent to Web sites that ended in "- ."
That suffix, the NASD said, was designed to be confused with legitimate sites that ended in ".gov" in the US or that used country codes, such as ".au" in Australia, internationally.
The NASD said the sites were a "new trick" in the world of advance fee scams, which tried to get international investors to send money before any service is provided, according to the report.
The report further said the sites also used information stolen from genuine regulatory Web sites to make them appear legitimate.
The NASD's investor alert mentioned three phony regulators: Central Registry Regulators, the National Mergers and Acquisitions Board, and the Board of Commissioners of Mergers and Acquisitions, the report said.
The investor alert is available at .