With the recent volatility in the financial markets, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) is urging people to beware of scam artists who take advantage of investors’ concerns with offers of a guaranteed, high-return alternative to their current investments.
“Fraudsters prey on the insecurities of investors who are looking for a place to protect their retirement savings in this volatile environment or to make up for the losses they may have suffered,” said Tamera Van Brunt, ASC’s Director, Communications & Investor Education. “Don’t be dazzled by the promises of high rates of return. Take some time to do your homework before making a sudden move with your investment portfolio that could cost you your life savings.”
The ASC offers these tips to help investors avoid possible investment scams:
- Ignore promises of “guaranteed” high returns with little or no risk: There is no such thing. The higher the returns, the higher the level of risk. Make sure the opportunity is suitable for your risk tolerance and investment goals.
- Be wary of the latest trend: Scam artists will build their investment scheme around the latest trends in the news such as gold, green technology or oil and gas exploration to capitalize on what is top of mind for investors. If you don’t understand what the investment is about, get clarification in writing as part of your research into the opportunity.
- Check registration: Ask the person offering you the investment if they are registered. Individuals selling securities are required to be registered with the ASC. You can confirm registration on the ASC website, call toll free (1-877-355-4488) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Check enforcement history: Use the resources of the ASC at www.albertasecurities.com to look up current or previous enforcement proceedings and see if there is any disciplinary history for an individual or company offering you the investment.
- Resist blindly following friends and family. One out of every five Canadians is introduced to investment fraud by family, friends or co-workers. Regardless of the source of the recommendation or the success they have had with that investment, do your homework and check the investment yourself.
- Get third-party advice: Take some time to consult with a person who is not participating in the investment, such as a lawyer, banker, accountant, financial adviser or someone else with business knowledge before deciding to invest. Don’t feel pressured to hand over your money until you’ve had some time to carefully consider the investment.
For more information, visit the “For Investors” section of the ASC website (www.albertasecurites.com
), which provides investors tools and resources to help them “Check First” before investing.
The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province's securities laws. It is entrusted to foster a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and to protect investors. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.
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For further information please contact:
For Media Inquiries: Mark Dickey
Senior Communications Advisor
For Investor Inquiries: ASC Public Inquiries
Toll Free 1.877.355.4488