Our guest speaker this past week was Alastair Field of the Enforcement Unit of the  OSC who talked to us about “protecting our money”.  Alastair spoke about his speciality of investment fraud, which many Canadians are victims of, and many are reluctant to even report the crime.  The loss may also lead to other physical or mental problems.

He talked about specific kinds of frauds

Affinity Fraud – when fraud is committed by a member of a group, often with the unwitting participation of group leadership

Ponzi Schemes – multi level schemes where the purported investment does not exist and early members are paid by new members, but new members get nothing

Pump and Dump / Boiler Room – fraudulent stock offerings where share prices are manipulated by a group of salesmen

Binary Option – all or nothing investments by off shore parties funded by credit cards

Double Dip/Repeat Scam – a second scam perpetrated on a previous victim through exchange or sale of victim lists.

Alastair also outlined certain red flags:

  • High pressure sales tactics
  • Phone call from someone you don’t know
  • High return / low risk
  • Recruiting friends and family
  • Unregistered sellers
  • Suggestion of falsifying information
  • Tax avoidance strategy
  • Unlisted companies

Most of all, if you are planning to invest in something, make sure you understand what it is and make sure you trust who you are dealing with.