How to be an Investment Fraud Warrior in Five Easy Steps
- (especially in former times) a brave or experienced soldier or fighter.
When COVID hit and I found myself working from home, I quickly purchased a desk to avoid working at my dining room table. Being a proponent of “reuse and recyle” I turned to Facebook Marketplace and negotiated a deal on a desk that was in “perfect working condition.” I arrived to pick up the desk to find it was missing a key feature— the base to the keyboard tray. Rather than politely choose not to purchase said desk, my thinking process took this path:
- She’s moving. There are moving trucks in her yard and she won’t have time to sell it to anyone else.
- I made a deal and I stick to my word.
- I would feel mean if I just walked away.
As we drove away with desk in tow, I turned to my partner and said “I’m ticked off! Now I need to fork over more money to get a replacement tray for the keyboard to sit on.” And then it dawned on me, I had just allowed myself to be a victim of an unscrupulous on line seller.
March is Fraud Prevention Month and we have learned from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre that investment fraud was the most prevalent type of fraud in Canada in 2021. Canadians lost over $163 million, and Manitobans lost $2.3 million. And these numbers account for only a fraction of cases reported; many estimates show that between 5 and 25% of all fraud is actually reported.
While I was victimized by an on line seller, investment fraudsters are regularly on the prowl looking for their next victim, most often reaching out to targets via unsolicited phone calls, texts or email.
How do you protect yourself from investment fraudsters?
Here’s what an Investment Fraud Warrior can to fight back:
- Hang up the phone, or delete the text or email that you get—especially if it is from someone you don’t know who has contacted you out of the blue. If it is from someone that you know, check with them to confirm their accounts have not been hacked.
- Tell the person offering the investment opportunity that you are going to check in with your financial adviser or family member. If your adviser, family or friends say it’s not a good idea to proceed with the investment, then end the conversation.
- Just say ’No.’ It is perfectly ok to say ‘NO’ or ‘No thank you,’ without any explanation.
- Listen to your inner voice that says, “This just doesn’t feel right.” In these situations, concern yourself with YOU, not the other person. They are not your responsibility.
- Listen to the MoneySmart Manitoba podcast series Time to Call Out Fraud to learn the secrets behind investment fraud, so you can be one step ahead.
Should you find yourself in the middle of what you think might be investment fraud, call 1-855-FRAUD-MB and one of our investigators would be happy to help you out.
P.S. I typed this post from the comfort of my second-hand desk outfitted with a brand-new keyboard tray. My motto for 2022 is, “Victim no more!”
Founder and Project Coordinator, MoneySmart Manitoba
Manager, Education & Communications, Manitoba Financial Services Agency