Cautious investors can now make complaints, report fraud, and request free background information on commodities trading companies and dealers from the National Futures Association's Web site.
The NFA said complaints and reports of possible investment swindles would be referred immediately to the appropriate department. Background checks will provide information on whether disciplinary action has been taken against a firm by the NFA, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or any member of the NFA.
"We wanted to make it easier for investors to check up on people that they are dealing with in the industry, said Trevor Jones, an organization spokesman.
"No judgments made. Just detailed information," he added.
Using the NFA Web site to request information or file complaints will be much easier than calling the 800-number for clearing house information on dealers and trading companies. Investors request information by email and the NFA will deliver the data within a week by the U.S. Post Office.
Jones said the information may be delivered by email in the future. But for now, NFA representatives give the clearing house information over the phone and are required to send a hard copy through the mail.