Look Out for These Affinity Fraud Warning Signs
Affinity fraud targets groups – clubs, associations, ethnic communities, or religious organizations. There are some common warning signs in affinity frauds:
- The fraudster may offer you “faith-based” investments exclusive to your religious group or organization.
- The fraudster will tell you religious-based investments are not regulated.
- An unregistered advisor or promoter claims affiliation to a certain faith or religious organization.
- The fraudsters will tell you not to seek independent advice about an investment or an advisor.
- A new person to your group is pushing a high-return, no-risk investment opportunity.
- Influential people in your group or organization are working with a person to promote an investment.
- Someone new to your group is name dropping or courting influential people to help them attract investors.
Watch Out for Friends or Family Members
You can help stop affinity fraud (or any investment fraud) by recognizing how it affects individuals – friends, family members, or people you associate with on a regular basis. Here is what to look for:
- A new friend or caregiver enters a person’s life and starts to advise on financial matters and investments.
- A friend, family member, or caregiver is putting pressure on a person to give them money or make an investment.
- Someone you know suddenly avoids social functions or group events.
- Friends and family tell you that a person you all know is avoiding them for financial reasons.
- Someone you know fails to take care of themself or keep up their home.
- You notice a friend or family member suddenly becomes concerned about money or their financial situation.
Recognize, Reject, & Report Investment Fraud
In British Columbia, report investment fraud or suspicious activity to the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) Inquiries team. You can also report anonymously through the BCSC’s online complaint form page. Residents from other Canadian provinces and territories can find contact information for their securities regulator here.