7.5.3 If you suspect a scam

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Only 26 percent of people report suspicious investment offers. That leaves a lot of scam artists free to go after other victims. Here's what you can—and should—do if you think you are the target of an investment scam.

  • Don't give out your personal information. Whether by phone or email, you don't know who's on the other end or what they're using the information for.
  • Research the investment. You should be suspicious if the only information you can find about a company is on its website. If the investment is real, you should be able to verify it with a credible, independent source, such as CNW.
  • Check the person or company's registration. Anyone selling securities, offering investment advice or managing an investment fund in Canada must register with the provincial or territorial securities regulator, unless they have an exemption.
    • Registration tells you which products and services a firm or individual can offer.
    • Firms and individuals are registered by category— each category has different requirements and permits different activities.
    • The only way to know for sure if they're qualified is to check their registration.
  • Check the investor warning lists posted by provincial and territorial securities regulators. They name the companies that the regulators have flagged because they may pose a risk to investors.
  • Report investment scams to your provincial or territorial securities regulator.

Tip

To find your local regulator, search for an individual or a firm on the National Registration Search at the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) website.

Watch out for these scams

What do scams look like? They look like real investments, but often there are signs that raise your suspicions. Look at the sample investments following. Spot the signs of a scam.

Golden Age Investment Trust. Description below.
Text version: Golden Age Investment Trust

Golden Age Investment Trust

Grow Your Savings Now!!! No Risk!

An investment plan with seniors in mind!

Do your investments provide the lifestyle you want? Do you need to increase your income without risking your capital? Check out the Golden Age Investment Trust.

GAIT is a unique opportunity for seniors in Canada that has already produced profits well above market rates. Already, early investors have seen their money grow, often doubling their initial investment or more. Just click on What People Say to read some sample stories from happy investors.

How does it work?

We tap into our network of top managers and advisors from some of the most successful investment companies in Canada. We carefully screen the information they provide us to find the best values. Often our researchers are able to identify powerful investment opportunities before they are known to the general public. The potential for growth is unlimited.

But unlike other investing companies, we put the security of your investments at the top of our priorities. We treat your money as a trust, and apply the same stringent rules to safeguard your money as a legal trustee would. While your investments may fluctuate from day to day in the course of a normal trading cycle, you never need to worry about losing your money or your profits. Golden Age Investment Trust assures it.

Make more money!

Growth and security—but it gets better. Increase your profits by sharing this investment opportunity with your friends. We will add a standard finder’s fee to your investment account—up to 10 percent for every account you refer to us. You’ll help your friends profit, and you’ll profit from their good fortune, too.

Skeptical? That’s good. Legitimate investment opportunities don’t come along every day. So check us out at our Golden Age Information Hotline. We’ll provide details and documents. We’ll connect you to other mature investors like yourself who have already profited from Golden Age Investment Trust.

Don’t hesitate—investments like Golden Age Investment Trust don’t last long.


 

Starlight Technology Inc. Description below.
Text version: Starlight Technology Inc.

News release: Starlight Technology Inc. announces positive test results

Starlight Technology Inc. Technology Division has released encouraging results from independent analysts supporting its breakthrough technology in energy development.

STI has been investigating advanced new materials systems to efficiently extract energy-producing resources from carbon-based minerals found in spent mine tailings. University researchers associated with STI have been conducting confidential studies to test the novel concepts before releasing them to the public.

The first phase of tests has been verified by independent analysts, who confirm that commercial amounts of energy can theoretically be produced using STI’s confidential technology. The independent analysts report that “up to 4.7 mega-ergs of energy per milligram (ME/mg) of treated source material was calculated to be produced under test conditions.” They conclude that “with development on an appropriate scale, carboniferous materials from this source could become a significant energy resource, either for domestic use or in export markets.”

Full details of the report detailing the potential for commercial exploitation of the STI technology will be released to qualified investors.

A limited number of qualified investors will be invited to buy a share of STI while the energy resource process is still in development. Full marketing will begin shortly at share prices considerably higher than the development phase prices. To be qualified for an invitation to the STI Early Investors List, contact STI Investor Relations Department.

Act now for a limited opportunity to invest before the price jumps. Potential profits will be spectacular.

For your guaranteed risk-free opportunity to examine STI technology and test results, click here.

This is not a prospectus. This is not an offer for sale. Offers for sale are included in complete documentation provided to qualified purchasers only in person by our sales representative and after credit references have been completed. Pre-purchase advance fees are not refundable.


Here are some tip-offs to watch for:

  • Words like "guaranteed high profits," "no risk," or "limited offer." No financial investment is risk-free, and a high rate of return means greater risk.
  • Offers based on "insider" or "pre-market" prices.
  • Testimonials and sources that you can't check.
  • Promoters who are not clearly identified or who are based outside the country. (Some foreign investments are just a trick to get your money out of the country, where you won't be able to track it down.)
  • Offers from "friends" with a "hot tip." (Even people you know may be trying to rip you off, or they may believe someone else's scams.)
  • Offers you hear about on the Internet. There are many reputable Internet information sources, but they don't offer to sell investments. They should refer you to your own investment advisor.

For more information, see the video Avoiding investment scams or go to the Fraud protection module.

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