What have you got to lose? Maybe everything.

Protect yourself and others from investment fraud. Look out for these fraud warning signs.

1. High return | No risk | Guaranteed

You are smart enough to recognize an outrageous offer. But fraudsters still aim to hook you with promises of higher-than normal investment returns. They may suggest that their “risk free” investment is backed by “assets” of some kind, or “held in trust”. If it sounds too good to be true, it is!

2. The Trust Trap

You know to watch out for a smooth operator. But what if you have an affinity with the person talking up an investment—a friend or family member, someone from church, your club, or work? Sometimes, someone we know promotes a fraud without even realizing what it is. We tend to let down our guard with people we know and trust. Yet after they have lost their investment, many fraud victims report having done just that.

3. Fear of Missing Out

You are a sensible person. But fraudsters are skilled at making it sound like their offer is making others rich while you sit on the sidelines. They may say their opportunity is known and available to only a select few. Or that you are foolish to let this chance pass you by. But most legitimate investments are available to anyone with the savings to invest. Sometimes, the best investment is the one you don’t make.

4. Pressure to Buy

You know how to say no. But fraudsters are experts in high-pressure sales tactics and can have you signed up before you even know it. They may tell you there’s no time to ask for advice and that you have to sign quickly if you want to get in. If you ever feel you’re being rushed, can’t change your mind or back out—remember, it’s always okay to say No!

5. Questions Not Answered

You have good instincts. That’s why fraudsters work hard to override them with complex documents and arrangements that seem legitimate but don’t actually make sense. They may dismiss your questions and fall back on arguments that are overcomplicated, inconsistent, and filled with jargon. If you can’t understand it and can’t get your questions answered, walk away.

If you recognize any of these warning signs, contact the BC Securities Commission. The sooner we know, the sooner we can intervene.