If an investment seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be sure to protect yourself from fraudsters and scam artists. Most scams have one or more of these common red flags that are easy to spot:

  1. Easy, guaranteed money: The seller promises high returns with very low risk.
  2. Hot tip: The seller claims to have ‘inside information’ that makes the investment a sure bet.
  3. Overseas investment and no taxes: The seller promises you it’s a great way to avoid paying taxes.
  4. Buy now or you will miss out: The seller pressures you to buy right away, because the opportunity will quickly disappear.
  5. Trust me: The seller may be someone you know but will not tell you whether they are registered.

You can easily check any person’s registration through the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) National Registration Search. You can also find out if they have been in trouble with a securities regulator using the CSA’s Disciplined Persons List.

Report fraud and abuse

No one wants to admit they have been the victim of a scam or fraud. But even the savviest investors are susceptible to being cheated. The only way to stop bad actors is to report them. Here’s how:

  • If you believe that a person or business has violated securities laws or acted fraudulently, report them to your local securities regulator.
  • If you are concerned about fraud or cybercrime, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • If you are concerned you or a loved one is experiencing elder financial abuse, call your local police non-emergency number or contact your local elder abuse prevention organization.