The Manitoba Financial Services Agency is aware that investment frauds and scams are being carried out in our province. As the provincial regulator of the financial markets, we do our best to ensure the public is protected from being victimized.
If you are considering an investment opportunity, protect yourself from becoming a victim to fraud by following the tips listed below.
Things to Do:
- Check Registration – Use the National Registration Search to check if an individual or firm is registered in your province or territory and is properly qualified. Securities industry professionals are required to register with the securities regulator in each province or territory where they do business. Registration helps protect investors because securities regulators will only register firms and individuals if they are properly registered.
- Review the Email Address – Fraudsters often use email addresses that are close to a real address or are a common misspelling of an actual Some ways to spot a fake email:
- The company’s domain name does not follow the @ symbol but comes from a public domain name such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail etc. E.g yourbank@.gmail.com
- Deceptive domains and spellings in Email addresses. Eg. email@example.com
- Check Whois for Website Details and Domain Age (length of time website has been active) – A Whois search can show you when it was created. Many scams have a short lifecycle, so be suspicious if an investment website has been recently set up.
- Look for Website Clues – Scam websites will often give you clues as to whether or not it is fake. Look for the use of various font types and sizes, spelling errors, poor grammar, design issues, and non- functioning pages or buttons.
- Check the CSA Investor Alerts – The CSA and its members will issue alerts when persons or companies appear to be engaging in securities activities that may pose a risk to You should be very cautious if you find the individual or company that you are thinking of working with on this list.
- Check the CSA Disciplined List – The CSA and its members post the names of individuals and companies that have been disciplined on the CSA Disciplined List. As the government agencies responsible for protecting investors and the integrity of the securities markets, CSA members consider it important to make this type of information readily This is why we give the names of individuals and/or companies who have been subject to sanctions, no matter how serious and whether or not the sanctions have expired
- A Cease Trade Orders (CTO) – A CTO is a decision issued by a provincial, territorial or similar regulatory body, against a company or an individual that requires that company or individual to cease trading their investment products. CTOs are issued for failing to meet disclosure requirements or as a result of an enforcement action that involves an investigation of potential wrongdoing. If you find the individual or company you’re considering on this list, it may be worth further investigation before deciding to invest.
- Find Out the Current Investment Return Rates – Prior to investing with an individual or company, contact your financial institution to get an idea of the current investment rates. For example, if you are looking to invest in bonds/GICs, contact your financial institution to find the current interest rate for your type of investment. If the company is offering you a higher rate (even if it is only 3-4% higher), it is possible they are trying to scam you.
Things to avoid:
- Giving Remote Access to your Device or Computer – Scammers will often try to gain access to your device or computer under the guise of assisting you to open an account or transfer Once a scammer has access to your device or computer, they can easily access other personal information.
- Taking Investment Advice from Celebrities – Is a celebrity endorsing the investment opportunity? Celebrity endorsements are often faked using images and fake quotes. Celebrities are not financial experts. Even if the endorsement is real, it’s usually not a good indicator of a sound or safe
- Transferring Funds to an Unknown Crypto Wallet – Some cryptocurrency investment scams require you to open an account at a cryptocurrency exchange and then transfer funds to a wallet. This kind of transfer is almost always unrecoverable, so you should be hesitant to transfer money this way.
- Believing you’re making profit because your account balance appears to be increasing – Some investment scams start with a small investment amount under $500 to try and build Once they have your money, they may show you fake profits to entice you to invest more.
Now you know some of the things to do and not do when considering an investment. However, this is not an exhaustive list of steps you should take before investing, nor is it a guarantee of avoiding a scam. The tools provided in this article are intended to be guidance and should not be the only research you do before making an investment decision.
For further resources on protecting yourself and making sound investment decisions, check out: