Can I Be an Anonymous SEC Whistleblower?
People considering blowing the whistle on securities fraud often wonder, “Can I be an anonymous SEC whistleblower?”
The short answer is “yes,” although there are requirements involved with anonymous whistleblowing, as well as certain limitations. Whistleblowing is a stressful process, so it’s important to be well-informed about what’s required before stepping forward—especially when it comes to protecting your identity.
Anonymous Whistleblowing: What the SEC Requires
It’s possible to submit a tip to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) anonymously, but only if you work through an appropriately licensed attorney.
Submitting a whistleblower tip requires filling out a Form TCR, which requires contact information. Your lawyer can list his or her contact information on this form so that you don’t have to disclose your identity during this stage of the process.
If the SEC decides to look into your information, they’ll likely want to schedule an interview with you and your lawyer. However, this can be done over the phone, so it won’t be necessary to meet with the SEC’s representative face to face.
Will the SEC Protect My Identity?
Even if the SEC somehow discovers your identity, such as if they discover it during the investigation, they’ll still go out of their way to protect it.
In general, you’ll be able to remain anonymous throughout the investigation, only revealing your identity to the SEC when it’s time to claim your whistleblower award. Even at this point, your identity is highly unlikely to be revealed, however—and won’t be unless the SEC is legally required to.
When the SEC announces sanctions and findings, they rarely do more than mention that “a whistleblower” contributed to the investigation.
Are There Any Situations Where the SEC Will Reveal My Identity?
It is extremely rare for the SEC to reveal the identity of a whistleblower who wishes to remain anonymous. This information is even protected from being disclosed in Freedom of Information Act requests.
The SEC will only disclose your identity if required to do so by law. While extremely rare, this is most likely to be required by a court or administrative proceeding. Even in these situations, the SEC will generally only provide the bare minimum of information required.
Be an Anonymous Whistleblower
Meissner Associates can help you submit your tip to the SEC anonymously. We can evaluate the strength of your information, complete the Form TCR on your behalf, represent you throughout the SEC investigation, and help you apply for a whistleblower award.
Discover how we can help by submitting your information for a free, confidential tip evaluation. Just use the form below or call our office at 1-866-764-3100.