The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is encouraging investors to properly research investment opportunities and stay ahead of the tell-tale signs of fraud during Fraud Prevention Month this March. With a series of initiatives running across the country, CSA members are highlighting the importance of Canadians’ understanding of investments, the red flags of fraud and to always check registration through the CSA’s National Registration Search before investing their money.
“In investing, knowledge is power – and gaining financial knowledge is one of the best ways to protect yourself against investment fraud,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Part of our mission year-round, and during Fraud Prevention Month, is to empower Canadian investors with the tools and knowledge to understand the risks of investing in order to protect their hard-earned money from investment fraud.”
Across Canada, the CSA and its members are highlighting Fraud Prevention Month with a variety of activities, including:
British Columbia: The B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) launched a multi-media “Don’t Be Part of a Fraud” social marketing campaign that directs visitors to an updated landing page on InvestRight.org with a new scenario-based quiz to learn how to identify the warning signs of investment fraud. The campaign, which has an increased focus on millennials, includes television, radio, and social media ads. The campaign’s goal is to highlight the importance of not falling into “The Trust Trap” and avoiding affinity fraud when considering an investment recommendation from friends, family or colleagues. Follow BCSC on Facebook and Twitter @BCSCInvestRight to learn more and to take the quiz.
Alberta: The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) will launch media and digital campaigns for Fraud Prevention Month to highlight the importance of being an informed investor. The campaigns will leverage results from a commissioned investor research study that will measure the awareness, knowledge and perceptions of affinity fraud among Albertans. In addition, the ASC will continue its digital “Spot the Odd” investor education campaign, and engage directly with Albertans at a number of venues during the month:
- Once again, the CheckFirst Café is at the Calgary and Edmonton Home & Garden Shows to offer coffee and education about investment fraud.
- The ASC joined the Calgary Police Service, RCMP and other agencies in a Fraud Prevention Month kick-off event on March 1 at the Calgary Public Library. At the event, the team presented on recognizing and avoiding investment fraud.
- The ASC is also partnering with community groups, law enforcement and other organizations for a number of other meet-and-greet events open to the public.
Additional information about the results of the investor research study, as well as information on financial literacy, investment fraud and other resources, are available on the ASC’s consumer website, Checkfirst.ca.
Saskatchewan: As financial abuse is the most common form of senior abuse in Canada, the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA) will provide information and resources to help seniors identify and avoid exploitation during Fraud Prevention Month. Seniors may lose money to fraudsters if they give out their credit card, personal or banking information. FCAA will be educating seniors about common frauds, red flags and preventative tips through outreach to community newspapers, providing information to retirement homes across the province, delivering presentations at senior centres and posting information on social media for family members and caregivers.
Manitoba: The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) will once again be partnering with the Winnipeg Police Service, the Better Business Bureau and other community organizations for the second annual Fraud Café - a special event where the public can meet one-on-one with local fraud experts. Visitors can grab a free coffee and snack, and ask experts their burning questions or learn the basics to protect themselves from common frauds and scams. This year, MSC is doubling its reach with two cafés—Wednesday, March 18 at Kildonan Place and Wednesday, March 25 at St. Vital Centre. In addition, MSC will be actively promoting anti-fraud messaging and education via social media and its website MoneySmart Manitoba throughout the month.
Ontario: The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) will hold several events and 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 2. Director Tyler Fleming shared tips on protecting against investment frauds and scams.
- Social media activities on Facebook (/GetSmarterAboutMoney) and Twitter (@smarter_money) using the hashtags #FraudChat and #FPM2020.
- A telephone townhall on investment fraud prevention hosted by the OSC’s Investor Office will be held on March 12. Registration is free.
- Educational activities to remind people always to check the registration of any person or business trying to sell them an investment or give investment advice. Visit CheckBeforeYouInvest.ca to learn more.
Québec: The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) will be active throughout the month with a variety of outreach activities, including conferences and a newsletter featuring fraud prevention messages. On March 1st, the AMF launched four short animated videos on social media. They highlight the warning signs of fraud and the importance of adopting the reflexes to double check and seek for more information before investing. The videos also direct investors towards an AMF dedicated landing page with steps to avoid fraud, AMF educational tools and assistance services. All year-round, the AMF will be launching new and innovative fraud prevention tools to help investors identify red flags of financial fraud.
New Brunswick: The Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) will provide resources to help New Brunswickers recognize the red flags of fraud with a special focus on understanding the risks associated with private mortgages. The FCNB will connect with New Brunswickers in their communities and online to share fraud prevention and awareness information. Some of their Fraud Prevention Month activities include:
- A contest through the FCNB’s online game Fortune, which can be played at throughout March.
- A booth at the Greater Moncton Home Show from March 20 to 22, where FCNB will share information to help consumers and homeowners understand the risks related to private mortgages and how to properly check the registration of any mortgage associate or broker.
- New resources shared on social media throughout the month, including two new videos on what to consider as a borrower or lender before entering into a private mortgage agreement. Follow FCNB on Facebook or Twitter @FCNB_.
Nova Scotia: The Nova Scotia Securities Commission (NSSC) will debut four new Fraud Prevention animated videos during the month. Each video will highlight a specific type of investment scam and will showcase scenarios in which an investor is defrauded and the warning signs they should have recognized. NSSC will visit universities and high schools across Nova Scotia, delivering presentations on informed investing and investment fraud. NSSC will also be hosting a special Fraud Prevention Month lunch and learn for Nova Scotia Government employees with the Financial Empowerment Network of Nova Scotia.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Newfoundland and Labrador's Service NL will continue its educational social media campaign for Fraud Prevention Month with a host of informative tweets intended to educate the public about investment fraud. Directed at Newfoundlanders and Labradorians at all stages of their investing experience, the campaign will include information and content on how to recognize and avoid a variety of different types of investment fraud. Service NL remains committed to helping consumers make informed and educated investment decisions and will continue to support awareness and education through its ongoing social campaign.
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.