Be Fraud Aware: Protect Your Money

This post has been written on behalf of the B.C. Securities Commission, to bring awareness to the – Be Fraud Aware app.

spotlight-fraud-warning-signs2Investment fraud isn’t something we consider until it is on the front-page news and media. But investment fraud is more common place than unsuspecting investors may realize. A 2012 National Investment Fraud Vulnerability Report, commissioned by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), found that 1-in-5 Canadians aged 50 plus, are vulnerable to a potentially fraudulent investment offer. According to the report, 23% of British Columbians said they had been a victim of fraud, pointing to a need for additional emphasis placed on education about the investment fraud warning signs.

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) specifically exists to protect B.C. residents and provide them with the tools and information needed to protect them against investment fraud.  BCSC recently launched an iPhone and iPad app dedicated to this mandate.

The Be Fraud Aware mobile application for iPhone and iPad helps to access real-time news, pertinent information, and on-the-go protection against fraud. Specifically the app helps investors to search for and report potential fraudulent schemes. There are some videos as well, to show what the app does and how it works.

Here are some of the app features:

  • Get updated with the latest news and alerts
  • Learn to spot investment fraud
  • Check the CSA’s national disciplined persons list
  • Access the BCSC’s Investment Caution List
  • Use the Scam Glossary

Most of us who are DIY (Do It Yourself) investors purchase our securities through a discount broker via a stock exchange, which is regulated and monitored by various securities exchange regulations. Many fraudulent schemes however, exist in the “alternative marketplace” and with “private placements”.  This makes investors who don’t invest through an exchange, discount broker, or licensed dealer, even more susceptible to fraud and investment schemes.

The Be Fraud Aware web page has some excellent resources to help and educate investors. These include fraud warning signs, how to spot an investment scam, and how to identify a con artist. Most importantly, there is also a link on how to report investment fraud. Be sure to check out the videos on the Fraud Watch page to see how a potential fraudster works, and how they build an investment scheme.

Whether you invest in the alternative market place or not, being aware of how investment fraud works, and how you can protect yourself, is everyone’s business.  The Be Fraud Aware campaign, by the B.C. Securities Commission, is an excellent resource to educate and help investors.

Bottom line, if an investment offer is too good to be true, then it is!

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