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Red flags

Becoming a victim of investment fraud can be devastating. And it’s easier than many people think for scam artists to con you out of your hard-earned money. But there’s good news: even the most sophisticated, well-orchestrated schemes usually present red flags – you just need to know what to look for. Protect yourself and your money – CheckFirst.

Red flags of investment fraud

Guaranteed high returns and no risk

Guaranteed high returns with no risk sounds too good to be true because it is. All investing involves some level of risk and, generally, the more risk, the higher the potential for returns. Accepting more risk isn’t a guarantee for more rewards – nobody can guarantee that and someone should not be trusted if they say they can.

Offshore and tax-free

Paying taxes is part of life (with limited exceptions), so be very careful if you are considering a “tax-free” investment. If an investment requires you to send money overseas, it may be difficult or impossible to get it back. Individuals and companies registered under Alberta securities laws are subject to the ASC’s regulation. Offshore companies not registered under Alberta securities laws are not subject to ASC regulation.

Don’t miss this opportunity

Investing and quick decisions don’t mix. Scam artists will often pressure people into making a quick decision to exploit their fear of missing out. Investment decisions should be informed decisions – don’t let anyone pressure you into handing over your money.

Insider tips - profit like the experts

Scams are often marketed as opportunities to a select few who are promised they’ll make a lot of money – as long as they keep the expert, special tip to themselves. Instead of being an insider, the victim becomes isolated, unprotected and defrauded.

Great investment opportunity - your friends and family can’t be wrong

Everyone loves their friends and family, but the truth is, when it comes to investments, they might be very, very wrong. Many investment fraud victims are introduced to the scam by friends, family, or co-workers in an approach called affinity fraud. Fraudsters will take advantage of the trust that exists within close-knit groups and use the community to lure more people in.

Celebrity endorsements

First impressions are powerful, and scam artists try to use this to their advantage. It’s important to remember that regardless of how impressive a website looks or what celebrities appear to endorse an investment, the opportunity may well be a fraudulent one. No matter how good an opportunity looks or sounds, it’s important to do your own research.

Website red flags

Fortunately, even the most sophisticated websites touting fraudulent investments often have red flags. Make sure to look closely at the site for warning signs like these:

  • The company or person is not registered with the ASC or with another Canadian securities regulator.
  • The company description is vague, with little to no information about the management team.
  • Besides the website, there’s no information available on the Internet about the company.
  • There are grammatical and spelling errors.
  • The contact information is not accurate.
  • The company is located overseas.

Have you seen a red flag?

If anything you’ve read here sounds familiar, don’t hand over your money — check the registration of the company or the person right away.

Still unsure?

Contact us. Whether it’s something you’ve always wondered about investments, a tip on a suspicious investment or formal complaint, we’re here to help.