Identify Con Artists

David - I am a con artist

There are people who put themselves forward as legitimate advisors who actually want to steal your money. There are also people who try to take your money by selling you a fictitious investment product or strategy. You need to know how to identify these people to avoid falling for their scams.

What does a con artist look like?

Con artists or fraudsters, look like you and me. They often look professional and have impressive offices and addresses so you will think they are legitimate professionals. They can be very intelligent. They know how to be extremely sociable and charming. If you catch them in a lie, they will make up another lie so quickly that you will seldom, if ever, notice.

How does a con artist do business?

For a scam to work, fraudsters need to gain your complete trust and confidence. They will instill in you a sense of security, and make you feel dependent on them for financial guidance. This will keep you interested in investing more money and get you to recruit your friends and family.

After you invest, the contact with the fraudster will dwindle, and it may stop altogether. They will use your financial dependency on them as a threat to stop you from taking any action.

What Happens to Your Money?

Sometimes money acquired by the con artist is quickly transferred to an offshore account. In other instances it is simply withdrawn, put in their pockets, and spent on personal items like houses, vacation homes, expensive trips, cars, boats, etc. By the time you find out about it, the money is usually gone.

How can you stop a con artist?

Even though someone is offering you a great investment and it sounds like you will be missing out if you don’t invest, it’s okay to say ‘no’. This may not be the right investment for you, even if it’s legitimate.

Don’t let the fraudster get you twice. Some people go along with another scheme in which the fraudster promises to make good on the original money lost and generate new returns. Though it is understandable you would want to make up for the money lost, the usual result is that you lose even more.

For more information, check out our Identify Con Artists info sheet and Identify Con Artists poster .

Check Before Investing:

Check a salesperson’s registration on the Canadian Securities Administrators website or contact the BC Securities Commission.

Report Suspicious Investments:

Bring suspicious investment activity to the attention of the BC Securities Commission by contacting BCSC Inquiries. You can report suspicious activity anonymously through the Report a Scam form. Remember to keep records in case you need to make a complaint or take legal action.