Learn How to Protect Your Money from Investment Fraud

CALGARY, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - Recent cases devastating thousands of Canadians show that investing in a fraudulent scheme can destroy the lives of victims and their families. That is why Alberta and BC securities regulators have combined forces to provide an online tool to help you learn how to protect your money.

The interactive tool entitled, Investment Scams: How to Protect Your Money, focuses on some common methods that fraudsters use to approach potential victims - via friend and family or 'affinity', the Internet, seminars and advertisements.

Developed jointly by the Alberta Securities Commission and BC Securities Commission, this online resource engages users with an opening quiz and testimonials to raise awareness of the ways fraudsters attract their victims. The testimonials are based on real cases depicting how people are drawn into scams.

The comprehensive tool provides information about how to recognize, research and prevent fraud. Offered as modules that can be easily accessed and shared, the resource provides investors with checklists and tips to help them evaluate and research investment opportunities for risks and potential fraud. As well, there are features within the resource to help investors directly email questions to a person offering them an investment and submit a complaint to the securities regulators.

The announcement about the Alberta and BC resource comes on the same day as the Canadian Securities Administrators released their 2009 Investor Index research. The 2009 study shows that people remain vulnerable to investment fraud as 38 per cent of Canadians are being approached with fraudulent investments, the same rate as in 2006.

"What concerns us is the percentage of people being approached in BC is 10 per cent higher than the national average," says BCSC Executive Director Brenda Leong. ASC Executive Director David Linder adds, "We know that Alberta investors are more prone than any other investors in Canada to believe that if you don't act immediately on an opportunity that you may miss out."

With recent large-scale Ponzi schemes widely-reported in Alberta and BC and research indicating that only 47 per cent of Canadians actually take the time to research their investments before they invest, Leong and Linder both agree: "Investors in Alberta and BC should take advantage of this new tool, especially before they make important investment decisions."

The CSA research also revealed that eight-in-10 Canadians describe the need for reliable, unbiased information about investing as important.

The Alberta and BC fraud prevention tool is supported by a video uploaded on YouTube that will help people find out about the course and easily share it with their family, friends and colleagues.

The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province's securities laws. Learn how to check first and ask the right investing questions in the "For Investors" section of www.albertasecurities.com.

The BCSC is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. Learn how to avoid investment fraud at the BCSC's investor education website: www.investright.org.

SOURCE Alberta Securities Commission

For further information: For further information: Media Inquiries: Mark Dickey, Alberta Securities Commission, (403) 297-4481; Andrew Poon, British Columbia Securities Commission, (604) 899-6880; Public Information: ASC Public Inquiries, (403) 355-4151, Toll Free 1-877-355-4488; BCSC Public Inquiries, (604) 899-6854, Toll Free 1-800-373-6393

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