Identifying Con Artists: Four Questions to Ask

Scam artists will do anything to get at your money. They will charade as legitimate financial advisors, or attempt to sell you fictitious investment products or strategies.

In order to avoid being scammed, you need to know how to identify fraudsters before becoming a victim.

What does a scam artist look like? They may have impressive offices, fancy clothes and cars. They are good at selling an idea or investment, and are willing to spend a lot of time with you in order to get you to buy into their scheme.

How does a scam artist get people to invest? For a scam to work, fraudsters need to gain your complete trust and confidence. They will make you feel dependent on them for financial guidance or advice. Scam artists use pressure tactics, and act like an expert with special information. They may be a part of, or try and gain access to a group or community that you belong to.

What happens to people’s money after they invest? Sometimes the money is transferred to an offshore account. Other times, it is spent on personal items like houses, vacation homes, expensive trips, and cars. By the time a person finds out an investment is a scam, the money and the scam artist are usually gone.

How can you stop a scam artist? Even though it sounds like someone is offering you a great investment and that you will be missing out if you don’t invest, it’s okay to say ‘no’. Know the Fraud Warning Signs, and make sure that you report any suspicious activity to the BC Securities Commission (BCSC).

If you have questions or concerns regarding an investment, please contact BCSC inquiries at 604-899-6854, toll free at 1-800-373-6393, or by email at [email protected].