One of the best ways to combat investment fraud is to learn how to avoid and report it.

As you probably already know, there are many great websites that offer information on how to protect yourself from a scam artist. However, we don’t always have ready access to the Internet. Also, some people and community groups like to keep printed versions of these types of materials on hand for easy reference.

In this blog post, I will introduce you to some free investor protection materials you can print off, or load onto a tablet (iPad, Playbook, Android tablet), or your home computer.

Be Fraud Aware – posters and printouts In October 2012, we launched a three-year fraud awareness campaign targeting British Columbians. For the campaign, we created a new website that has investor protection materials in English, Punjabi, and traditional Chinese. At BeFraudAware.ca you will find full-colour PDFs (both posters and letter-size) available for download in these four sections: Fraud Warning Signs, Fraud Among Friends, Identify Con Artists, and Report Investment Fraud. We bring them on the road when we are doing presentations, and we encourage people to post them at community centres or meeting places.

Protect Your Money: Avoiding Frauds and Scams This resource from the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is a 13-page guide that includes information about how fraudsters approach people, and the kinds of schemes fraudsters use to take people’s money. The Investment Fraud Checklist on page eight is a good tool to use when you are considering an investment. The guide is available in PDF format on the CSA website in the Investor Tools section.

Little Black Book of Scams The Competition Bureau published this 30-page resource in March during Fraud Awareness Month. This booklet offers a section on pyramid and Ponzi schemes, as well as many other common schemes fraudsters use to steal people’s money or identity. It also walks you through how to get help and where to report scams.

Stopping Affinity Fraud in Your Community: How to Avoid Investment Scams that Target Groups The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) publishes this 10-page booklet on its investor education website. The booklet outlines some common persuasion tactics that scam artists use, and “too good to be true” investment opportunities. It points out the most common target groups. Since it’s a U.S. resource, it doesn’t have Canadian contact information. BC residents should to call or contact the BCSC if you suspect an investment is an affinity fraud.

If you know of any other resources, let us know in the comment section below.

Suggested Reading

BC Securities Enforcement Roundup – October 2013

Madoff on Madoff: His recent interview with the Financial Times

RRSP Season 2012: Tools and articles for investors

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