Earlier this year, our enforcement division received an anonymous tip that Orion Advisory Services and IntelliSource Markets B.V. (aka IS Markets) were targeting Canadian and UK investors, eight of whom lived in BC.

We were able to contact five of the eight BC residents. All said they had been cold called to invest in Orion. Three opened trading accounts with IS Markets, sending thousands to a Dutch bank for the purpose of trading gold options. All three lost their money and, as our investigators unraveled the story, it became clear that others had as well.

Orion claimed to be a securities trading business specializing in options on precious metals, oil, and foreign currency, with offices in Cancun, Mexico, Barcelona, Spain, and Panama City. Orion presented IS Markets as a financial institution in Amsterdam that held accounts for Orion investors. Neither company was registered to sell securities in BC.

People often hesitate to report that they have been defrauded, or that someone is trying to pressure them into an investment. Thanks to the tips we received in this case, our investigators gathered enough information to put Orion and IS Markets on the BCSC Investment Caution List and bring their activities to a BCSC hearing. Last week, the hearing panel ordered both companies to cease trading securities and exchange contracts and banned them from investor relations activities in our province.

The first step to protecting yourself from an operation like Orion is to hang up the phone. If you don’t hang up, step two is to ask questions: if you don’t get answers, hang up. Step three: report.

You may think that nothing will come of your report, or there’s nothing to gain if you, or someone you know, has already lost money. But that’s far from the truth. As the anonymous tip about Orion and IS Markets shows, these operations can be stopped. And you can help.

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