Disclaimer: None of this is legal advice.

§ Laws of Insider Trading

  1. Don't do it.
  2. Don't do it by buying short-dated out-of-the-money call options on merger targets.
  3. Don't text or email about it.
  4. Don't do it in your mother's account.
  5. Don't do it by planting bombs at a company and shorting its stock.
  6. Don't do it while employed at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  7. Don't Google “how to insider trade without getting caught” before doing it.
  8. If you didn't insider trade, don't forget and accidentally confess to insider trading.
  9. If you are going to insider trade, do it in a company that is far away from a Securities and Exchange Commission office. Like, physically.
  10. If you are already under a federal ethics investigation about your ownership or promotion of a stock, don't insider trade that stock.
  11. If you are planning to insider trade, probably don't keep a Google Doc spreadsheet of the Money Stuff Laws of Insider Trading. That will definitely show up in the SEC's complaint against you. If you're gonna insider trade, you have to keep track of these rules in your head, even at the risk of forgetting a few now and then.
  12. If you insider trade by buying short-dated out-of-the-money call options on a merger target, and the SEC freezes your profits, don't show up in a U.S. court to ask for them back.
    • Corollary: go ahead and show up in court to ask for them back as long as you've deleted all the evidence first.
  13. If you are going to insider trade, or commit securities fraud generally, don't talk loudly about it on the Acela from Washington to New York.
  14. Don't insider trade while drunk.
    • Corollary: only insider trade while drunk.
  15. Don't insider trade if you are a police chief.

§ Additional Information

See Section 10b5, which clarifies the SEC's stance on insider trading with material nonpublic information.

This site was inspired by Matt Levine's Money Stuff articles, where insider trading and how not to do it are a recurring theme.