The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has launched a digital campaign for Fraud Prevention Month this March to remind Canadians to “get the full picture” before making an investment decision. The bilingual campaign encourages Canadian investors to use the unbiased tools and information available on the CSA’s website to ensure an investment is right for them and to avoid investment fraud.
“We want to arm investors with the knowledge and confidence they need to make informed investment decisions,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Incidences of fraud are on the rise and the best way to protect yourself is to become financially knowledgeable and research every investment opportunity.”
Across Canada, CSA members are also running initiatives to highlight the importance of researching investments, checking registration through the CSA’s National Registration Search and being familiar with the red flags of fraud before investing their money.
British Columbia: The British Columbia Securities Commission launched a multi-media campaign on social media-based investment fraud. The campaign, which focuses on millennials, includes television, radio, podcast, out-of-home and social media ads. The campaign personifies the emotional pull of FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out. It reminds British Columbians to do their research to protect themselves against investment fraud. The campaign drives to an updated landing page on bcsc.bc.ca.
Alberta: The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) launched a multi-media “Take Some Time” marketing campaign aimed at Albertans aged 18-30. Recent statistics* show the incidence of fraud is increasing in this age group. As well, higher rates of unemployment, pandemic-related fraud and more time online have increased the vulnerability of young Albertans to investment fraud. The campaign includes an Excuse Bot, a fun and educational tool that gives humorous tongue-in-cheek excuses so young Albertans can #takesometime and do their research using tools and resources available on checkfirst.ca/takesometime. Facebook Live discussions are being held throughout the month and a series of 90s-inspired posts and digital ads are supporting and promoting the campaign as well as providing important information and facts. In addition to this campaign, the ASC is hosting virtual fraud awareness presentations at Calgary and Edmonton public libraries and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
Saskatchewan: In recent months, Saskatchewan has seen an increase in fraudulent investment opportunities that involve cryptocurrency. Fraudsters are using various techniques such as flashy advertising with promises of high returns to target individuals aged 50+ who are looking to supplement their income for retirement purposes. The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA) has created a fraud prevention campaign to raise awareness about fraudsters who lure investors into get rich quick schemes using cryptocurrency as an incentive. The FCAA will use social media, Google ads, YouTube videos and rural newspapers articles to explain the different types of frauds and how to spot them.
The FCAA is also participating in the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s Fraud Prevention campaign and will be releasing a series of social media posts that highlight investment fraud red flags so investors can learn how to protect themselves.
Manitoba: The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) will be hosting “Protect Your Family from Fraud,” a free Facebook Live event on Thursday, March 18 at noon, focused on fraud prevention. Under its MoneySmart Manitoba banner, experts from the MSC and the Winnipeg Police Service will give a special presentation on recognizing and avoiding financial fraud in all its forms, including the latest information on current scams operating in Canada, COVID-related fraud and cryptocurrency fraud. In addition, the MSC will be actively promoting anti-fraud messaging and education via social media and the MoneySmart website throughout the month.
Ontario: The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is promoting its digital investor education resources, including GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca and InvestingQuestions.ca and delivering investor education and outreach activities to help Ontarians make informed financial decisions:
- On March 10, 2021, the OSC will host a province-wide telephone townhall on recognizing and avoiding pandemic-related frauds and scams. Registration is free
- On March 22, 2021, the OSC will host a financial fraud prevention Twitter chat with law enforcement, regulatory partners, and community and industry organizations. Ontarians are encouraged to follow @smarter_money and use the hashtags #FraudChat and #FPM2021 to participate.
- The OSC will be hosting various virtual events as part of its OSC in the Community outreach program. OSC in the Community is an initiative that takes the OSC’s important regulatory mandate from Bay Street to Main Street. Participants will learn about recognizing the warning signs of investment fraud and have an opportunity to ask OSC staff questions. Find an event
- The OSC will publish new editions of its popular Investor News newsletter to help Ontarians stay informed about the latest investor initiatives, topical issues, educational resources, key dates and investor alerts. Sign up today
Québec: The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) will be active throughout the month with a variety of outreach activities:
- Five webinars will be offered, including one to 50 members of the Montréal police department.
- A newsletter dedicated to fraud prevention.
- Four new videos featuring AMF staff from Enforcement and Client Services explaining their roles and inviting investors to reach out to the AMF if in doubt.
- A new web section and social media messaging warning investors about the risks of DIY investing without proper knowledge, analysis and time commitment.
A dedicated landing page will be available with steps to avoid fraud, AMF educational tools and assistance services.
All year-round, the AMF will be posting investor warnings and 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 online to share fraud prevention and awareness information. Some of the FCNB’s Fraud Prevention Month activities include:
- A dedicated landing page on the FCNB website with resources including:
- Two videos on what to consider as a borrower or lender before entering into a private mortgage agreement.
- Guides about considering the risks of private mortgages and protecting seniors from fraud and financial abuse during COVID-19.
- Links to check licensing and registration of regulated professionals in New Brunswick and how to report fraud.
- Tips, facts and red flags of fraud shared on social media. Follow @FCNB.ca on Facebook and @FCNB_ on Twitter for updates.
Nova Scotia: The Nova Scotia Securities Commission (NSSC) will be premiering a new fraud prevention video series on its YouTube Channel throughout March. Each video in the series will include a scenario that could potentially be investment fraud. In each scenario the red flags of investment will be examined to teach investors how to spot fraud and avoid it to protect themselves and their money. Throughout the month, the NSSC will be sharing fraud prevention information, tips, videos and facts on its Twitter and LinkedIn social channels. The NSSC will also be virtually visiting high schools and universities in the province to talk to students about securities regulations, investing and fraud.
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.
*2020 CSA Investor Index Survey
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