Identify the Red Flags of Investing and Prevent Investment Fraud

    CALGARY, March 19 /CNW/ - As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the Alberta
Securities Commission (ASC) is reminding the public to do their homework and
watch for the red flags of investing before they part with their hard-earned
money. The ASC has the tools and information at to help
you detect the red flags and avoid investment fraud.
    Listed below are some of the investing red flags and a number of simple
ways you can protect your money:

    Red Flags:

    -  Promises of high returns with little or no risk. There is no such
       thing. Usually, the higher the returns,  the higher the level of risk.
    -  Pressure to invest immediately or miss the opportunity. Don't be
       pulled in. This tactic is used to pressure investors into handing over
       their money without doing their homework or asking for independent
    -  Offshore investment - tax-free. Taxes can be deferred, but they can't
       be avoided. This tactic is used to get investors to send their money
       offshore where it is difficult, if not impossible, to get back.
    -  Great investment opportunity - your friends can't be wrong. Yes, they
       can. Roughly half of all successful investment fraud is introduced to
       the victim by someone they trust. Sometimes these trusted individuals
       are also unknowingly a victim of fraud. Check out as much as possible
       about the person who is selling the investment (no matter how
       trustworthy you think they may be) and the investment itself before
       you invest.

    How to Protect Your Money:

    -  Don't be afraid to ask questions and make sure they are answered to
       your satisfaction.
    -  Take notes during conversations with salespeople.
    -  Beware of high-pressure sales tactics.
    -  Take your time to make decisions. Don't allow anyone to rush you.
    -  Always seek independent financial advice or see a lawyer if you don't
       understand a document.
    -  Never accept a verbal agreement - get it in writing.
    -  Never sign any document before reading it carefully.
    -  Don't be drawn in by appearances - fraudsters know the importance of
       first impressions.

    For more tips on how to Check First before you invest, visit

    The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the
province's securities laws. It is entrusted to foster a fair and efficient
capital market in Alberta and to protect investors. As a member of the
Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and
harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.

For further information:

For further information: For Media Inquiries: Lorinda Brinton, Advisor,
Investor Education, (403) 297-2665; For Investor Inquiries: ASC Public
Inquiries, Toll Free 1-877-355-4488

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