Publications

The CFTC continually strives to provide effective information and tools to help consumers avoid fraud. Below are some helpful resources on these topics. Bulk orders of certain publications are available free to organizations. If you have questions about any of these resources, please contact consumers@cftc.gov. These publications should not be resold.

Brochures

Bitcoin Basics

Learn basic information about Bitcoin, the CFTC’s jurisdiction, and how virtual currencies can be a target for fraud and for hackers. If you’re new to Bitcoin, this guide provides an introduction and points you to more information about Bitcoin and its risks. [PDF]

An Introduction to Virtual Currency

A quick guide to virtual currencies that covers how they can be purchased, why they are considered commodities, and what types of fraud can be found in the market. Use this guide to explore the world of virtual currencies and learn about potential risks. [PDF]

Commodity Futures Trading Commission - Overview

The CFTC is the federal government agency that regulates the commodity futures, commodity options, and swaps trading markets. [PDF]

Role of the CFTC in the Agri-Economy

Agricultural derivatives markets protect Americans from dramatic price fluctuations in food and other everyday products. The CFTC strives to ensure that these are open and competitive markets, so industry players can confidently hedge against risk. [PDF]

The Risks of Buying Gold, Silver and Platinum

Trading in precious metals such as gold, silver, or palladium can be a legitimate way to diversify your portfolio, but the market is volatile and also has its share of fraud. Beware of dealers’ lofty promises of easy profits or doomsday threats of a faltering economy.  [PDF]

Advisories

Customer Advisory: Learn About Risks Before Investing in Commodity ETPs or Funds

Trading vehicles that use futures contracts or other commodity interests may be organized as exchange-traded products or mutual funds, but that does not necessarily mean they will behave like traditional exchange-traded funds or mutual funds that invest in stocks, bonds or other asset classes. [PDF]

Customer Advisory: Beware of Fee Scams Targeting Workers Sidelined by COVID-19

Unregistered brokers selling binary options, foreign exchange (forex) programs, and cryptocurrencies are targeting people who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The scams promise unrealistically high profits, but later force victims to pay excessive “fees” and “taxes” to get their supposed earnings. [PDF]

Customer Advisory: Be on Alert for Frauds Seeking to Profit from Market Volatility Related to COVID-19

Fraudsters commonly use major news events, such as the spread of COVID-19, to add credibility to their cons or manipulate emotions. You can better protect yourself by learning to recognize common mental biases that everyone has, as well as common fraud tactics—and by taking a few preventative steps. [PDF]

Customer Advisory: Use Caution When Buying Digital Coins or Tokens

The market for digital coins and tokens is still very young and there is no widely-accepted standard for placing a value on a particular coin or token. You need to ask about your rights, research what could affect the future value of a digital coin or token, and exercise caution. [PDF]

Investor Alert: Watch Out for Fraudulent Digital Asset and “Crypto” Trading Websites

The CFTC and SEC have recently observed investment scams where fraudsters pose as “ctryptocurrency” advisory trading businesses touting proprietary trading systems or mining farms. [PDF]