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Investor Watch: Friends and family see serious impact suffered by fraud victims

Vancouver – Investment fraud has a greater impact on a victim’s health and trust of others than she may realize according to friends and families interviewed in nation-wide research conducted by Canada’s securities regulators.

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) took a further look at Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) research conducted in 2006 and 2007 and found that fraud victims do not agree with their friends and family when it comes to rating the magnitude a fraud has on a person’s health, social life and trust of others.

Both victims and those close to them said that investment fraud had reduced their trust in others and created higher stress levels in their lives. However, 81 per cent of friends and family of fraud victims said the person affected by the fraud was less willing to trust others, compared to 68 per cent reported by the victims. This was also the case when it came to stress levels, with 68 per cent of friends and family saying victims had higher stress levels, and only 36 per cent of victims reporting a rise in stress.

“Victims of fraud certainly feel the impact of fraud but it’s their family and friends who really see just how seriously it has affected the victim,” says Patricia Bowles, BCSC director, communications and education. “What’s more, the research reveals that in some cases victims withdraw from their friends, family and the broader community.”

The CSA commissioned Innovative Research Group Inc., a national public opinion research firm, to conduct the 2007 CSA Investor Study: Understanding the Social Impact of Investment Fraud and the 2006 CSA Investor Index.

The research is based on two national online surveys of more than 5,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, in both 2006 and 2007. The margin-of-error for each survey (5,568 and 5,868 interviews respectively) is considered accurate within ±1.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

InvestRight is the BCSC’s one-stop resource for investors to educate themselves on how to make informed investment decisions. Its comprehensive website at InvestRight.org provides a wide range of tools to help investors develop critical thinking skills they need to protect themselves. If you have questions or problems with an investment or a financial adviser, please call 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll-free in BC & Alberta).

The BCSC is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. If you have questions, contact Ken Gracey, media relations, 604-899-6577.