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The national registration search contains the names of all individuals and firms who are registered to sell securities in Canada.

Recognizing a Scam

If you are approached with an investment opportunity, it's important to look carefully at what exactly the opportunity is offering and who is offering it. Investing in an unsuitable investment can have social and financial impact on you and your family.

Know the risks and rewards of various investment opportunities to better prepare yourself for the next time you are approached to invest your money. Here are some items to consider:

  1. Affinity/ Group fraud​

    Scam artists take advantage of the common bonds people develop through religious, professional or ethnic affiliations to gain a victim's trust. Typically, fraudsters target a respected member of an affinity group and, through that person, attempt to meet and gain the trust of other group members to convince them to invest in their schemes. Requests for secrecy are an immediate red flag t​hat something might be wrong.

    While it is always good to get a second opinion from others when considering investments, consider consulting with a third party with business knowledge. While family, friends or colleagues can be great sounding boards, they may not have checked into the investment, the promoter or the company themselves. Don’t assume that they have done a background check and do your own research.

    Usually involve a pyramid (or ponzi) scheme where part of the money from new investors is used to make payments to earlier investors (see description below). Some currency trading scams target potential customers in ethnic or immigrant communities, often through advertisements in ethnic newspapers and television infomercials. Many such advertisements offer so-called "job opportunities" for account executives to trade foreign currencies. No promising job opportunity will ever ask you to put up your own money as a condition of employment. What appears to be a promising job opportunity is actually another way for these companies to lure people into parting with their money.

  2. Churning
  3. Commodity contracts
  4. Exempt market activity
  5. Foreign currency trading (FOREX)
  6. "Green" investing
  7. Investment clubs
  8. Misleading sales tactics and practices
  9. Ponzi/ Pyramid schemes
  10. Prime bank instruments and religious affiliations
  11. Pump and dump
  12. Real estate investment opportunities
  13. Scam marketing/ advertising
  14. Seminars
  15. Unregistered activity

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