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Affinity fraud warning signs

Warning signs

  • The con artist may tell you the investment is exclusive and available to 'those in the know'. Real investments are not kept quiet or secret.  
  • A new member of your group who begins talking about wealth-building investments. Do a background check on this individual and ask them pointed questions. 
  • The fraudster will try to rush you into making a decision. If someone is pressuring you to make a decision, be suspicious. It’s okay to say ‘no’. 
  • A scam artist will discourage you or other investors from seeking independent advice. Don't listen. Take the time to seek professional advice from a neutral, outside expert.  
  • Scam artists use your ethnicity, religion, occupation, or something else they claim to have in common with you to gain your trust. Ask the same questions
    you would ask if the person didn't share your religion, culture, or job.
     
  • Watch out for investments that seem closely tied to a particular religious or group belief. It does not make sense that an investment opportunity would be available only to members of a specific church or faith.  
  • The scam artist may state that the investments or financial advisors have a religious connection. Even if the advisor has a connection to your church or faith, you should check to see if they are registered.   
  • The scam artist may claim that religious-based investments are not regulated. Religious-based investments are no different from other investment products. The seller and the investment must follow the rules and regulations for the type of product they are selling.  

Is it happening to someone you know?

If you think a friend, family member, or group you belong to is the target of an investment fraud, consider these questions: 

  • Is there a new person in their life who they depend on for advice? Scammers will become the best and most trustworthy friend of someone they can con. Check out our Investigate before you invest section.  
  • Do they mention they are helping out a friend or caregiver? A con artist may be a friend or caregiver who is telling your loved one that they are going through hard times. Check the Identify con artists section.  
  • Are they suddenly not spending money or going out? Many times a person who has been scammed can’t afford to attend social functions.  
  • Are they ignoring family or avoiding friends? When a person has been scammed, they are usually very embarrassed and do not want to tell anyone about it. They might even start avoiding the scam artist who has infiltrated a group or organization the person attends.  
  • Are they failing to take care of themselves or the upkeep of their home? If someone has gone into debt or spent all of their savings because of a bad investment, they may not have the income or savings left. Some people may even stop taking care of themselves, and end up ill.  

Familiarize yourself with investment schemes and the red flags of a scam by visiting our Common investment schemes section and our Fraud warning signs section. Also, learn about how fraudsters work by looking at our Identify con artists section. For a handy print-out to post on the fridge or share with friends, download Telltale signs of investment fraud PDF document.

Report it

Even if you are not considering an investment or haven’t given your money to a person selling the investment, take the time to bring suspicious activity to our attention. Your care and attention may save a friend, family member or member of your community from falling victim to a scam artist.

In BC, contact BCSC Inquiries. You can also anonymously report suspicious activity through InvestRight’s Report a scam webpage.

Residents from other Canadian provinces can find contact information for their provincial securities regulator at www.securities-administrators.ca