As this year’s Fraud Prevention Month winds down, we thought that it would be good to point you to a resource from the Competition Bureau that you can you can use to identify different types of scams throughout the year.

The Little Black Book of Scams is a guide that Canadians can use to protect themselves from a variety of common schemes. The Book offers information on how scams work and what they look like. There is also a quick reference section in each description that provides tips on to how you can protect yourself.

A couple of common schemes in the Book have an investment fraud component are: pyramid schemes and Internet scams.

Pyramid schemes The book explains how Ponzi Schemes are very similar to pyramid schemes. One of the keys to identifying these types of schemes is if a friend or family member is presenting the investment, or business opportunity, to you. Fraudsters use people’s trusted networks to spread word about the scheme. For more on how Ponzi Schemes work, visit the common scams section of our website.

Internet schemes There are many forms of Internet schemes. The book explains online auctions, phishing, and malicious software. Fraudsters also use the Internet and e-mail spam to promote investment scams. The best way to avoid these types of schemes is not to answer unsolicited e-mails, and to stay away from websites offering High Yield Investment Programs. For more on how High Yield Investment Programs work, visit the common scams section of our website.

Fraud Prevention Month videos Finally, as part of its promotion of the Little Black Book of Scams, the Competition Bureau is releasing one video per week during March. Check them out, they are informative and entertaining.

How to get the Little Black Book of Scams in other formats The Book is available on the web, in a PDF, as an EPUB, or in other formats that you can request from the Competition Bureau directly (note: you need to go to the webpage to get a mailing address).

Suggested Reading

Saving for Long- & Short-term Financial Goals

Madoff on Madoff: “It wasn’t about the money”

School’s out: Time for a summer budget talk

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