The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is encouraging investors to research investment opportunities and educate themselves about the red flags of fraud during Fraud Prevention Month this March. CSA members across the country are highlighting the importance of Canadians’ understanding of investments, checking registration through the CSA’s National Registration Search and being aware of the warning signs of fraud before they invest their hard-earned money.
“It’s an unfortunate reality that investment fraud impacts a large number of Canadians every year,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “One of the best defences against fraud is to be an informed investor. Part of our mission is to help educate people about the risks and responsibilities of investing so they can protect themselves. CSA members’ efforts year-round, and in March, are critical to reaching and informing investors.”
Across Canada, the CSA and its members are marking Fraud Prevention Month with a variety of activities, including:
British Columbia: The B.C. Securities Commission’s (BCSC) multi-media “Don’t Be Part of a Fraud” social marketing campaign directs people to a landing page on InvestRight.org where people are encouraged to take a quiz to learn how to identify the warning signs of investment fraud. The BCSC will also reveal new research findings that highlight the importance of not falling into “The Trust Trap” and avoiding affinity fraud when considering an investment recommendation from friends, family, or colleagues.
Alberta: The Alberta Securities Commission’s (ASC) Fraud Prevention Month campaign is comprised of several elements. In addition to continuing its digital “Spot the Odd” investor education campaign, the ASC launched “Kajillionaire,” a board game developed with insight from a cognitive psychologist to help players overcome investor optimism bias (“it can’t happen to me”), highlighting different types of securities fraud and illustrating the need to do one’s homework prior to investing. In addition, the ASC is engaging directly with Albertans at a number of venues during the month:
The ASC partnered with community groups, law enforcement and other organizations for meet-and-greet events as well as at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Fraud Prevention Conference.
The ASC sponsored, and was on-site for a Lethbridge Hurricanes’ game night.
Additional information about the “Spot the Odd” and “Kajillionaire” campaigns, as well as information on financial literacy, investment fraud and other resources are available on the ASC’s consumer website, Checkfirst.ca.
Saskatchewan: The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) will be running a social media campaign informing investors about the warning signs of investment scams and frauds and how they can protect themselves. FCAA is also coordinating a seniors presentation regarding senior financial abuse, highlighting red flags for seniors, family members and caregivers as well preventative steps and who people should contact.
Manitoba: The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) partnered with the Winnipeg Police Service, the Better Business Bureau, and other community organizations on March 12 for a special public meet-and-greet event at Winnipeg’s second-largest shopping centre. Subject matter experts on fraud hosted an informal ‘café’ to chat about fraud and other important financial topics. Visitors asked our experts their burning questions and learned some of the basics to protect themselves from common frauds and scams. In addition, MSC will be actively promoting anti-fraud messaging via social media throughout the month, and its MoneySmart Manitoba initiative will be focusing on fraud education as well.
Ontario: The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) will hold several events and will also partner with community groups, law enforcement and other organizations as part of Fraud Prevention Month to educate people on how to recognize, reject and report investment fraud. Some of its initiatives include:
The OSC’s Investor Office participated in the Toronto Police Service Fraud Prevention Month kick-off event on March 4. Director Tyler Fleming shared tips on protecting against investment frauds and scams.
On March 6, the OSC’s Investor Office held a Twitter chat with many stakeholders using the hashtag #FraudChat on fraud prevention.
A telephone town hall on investment fraud prevention hosted by the OSC’s Investor Office will be held on March 27. Registration is free.
Québec: The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) will launch a new conference, Finance$: déjoue les pièges!, in March to CEGEP students across the province to help them make informed personal finance decisions and avoid pitfalls such as fraud. In addition, the AMF will meet seniors at the Carrefour 50 and + show in Montreal from March 22 to 24, while being active throughout the month on social media with fraud prevention messages.
New Brunswick: The Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) is providing resources to help New Brunswickers recognize the red flags of fraud with a special focus on recognizing mortgage fraud. FCNB staff connects with New Brunswickers in their communities and online to share fraud prevention and awareness information. Some of their Fraud Prevention Month activities include:
FCNB hosted a Spend Smart Café in St-Isidore in partnership with Tazza Caffe on March 7 to meet with consumers to talk about fraud and provide tips on how to recognize the red flags of fraud over free coffee and treats.
From March 22 to 24, FCNB will share information to help consumers and homeowners recognize and avoid frauds related to mortgages, door-to-door selling and more at the Greater Moncton Home Show.
New resources will be shared on social media throughout the month, including infographics on the red flags of fraud, 15 years of fraud prevention in New Brunswick, a blueprint to avoid mortgage fraud, and a new video on what to know when working with a mortgage broker. Follow FCNB on Facebook or Twitter.
FCNB provides up-to-date email alerts to warn subscribers about current scams targeting New Brunswick and provides tips on how New Brunswickers can protect themselves – subscribe at FCNB.ca/alerts.
Nova Scotia: The Nova Scotia Securities Commission (NSSC) is releasing new animated videos focusing on fraud every Monday throughout March on its website and YouTube on topics such as Ponzi Schemes, Boiler Rooms Scams, Pump-and-Dump Scams, and what to do if you think you’ve been scammed. The NSSC’s “Before You Invest” blog continues its Investment Risk series with new blogs every Wednesday, and Fraud Tips will be posted every Tuesday on Twitter on ways to recognize and avoid investment fraud. On March 25, the NSSC is presenting a class on Investment Fraud to the Seniors’ College Association of Nova Scotia, which offers non-credit academic courses for anyone 50+ in Nova Scotia.
The CSA has a number of investor tools and resources available at https://www.securities-administrators.ca/, designed to help Canadians be informed investors. Investors can stay informed of the latest investor tips, news and developments by following @CSA_News on Twitter and @CSA.ACVM on Facebook.
The CSA, the council of the securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, co-ordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.