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BCSC’s New Campaign Aims to Help Investors Avoid Classifieds Scams

The purpose of this image is to warn British Columbians about classifieds investment scams and the importance of doing due diligence before investing.
The initiative aims to drive awareness about investing online, digital investment fraud and help investors make better-informed investment decisions.

 

As part of its Investor Education Month activities, the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) is pleased to announce the launch of a digital campaign that seeks to educate British Columbians on how to recognize and avoid investment scams when browsing popular online classifieds websites for investment opportunities.

Through the collaborative effort of the BCSC’s Enforcement Division and the BCSC’s Investor Education Team, this initiative aims to drive awareness about investing online, digital investment fraud and help investors make better-informed investment decisions by learning to recognize the fraud warning signs and research investments before purchasing. The campaign will also emphasize how British Columbians can reject and report investment fraud and help the BC public understand the role the BCSC plays as the guardian of BC’s investment markets.

The campaign, comprised of two ads across different categories, will appear on Kijiji – one of Canada’s largest classifieds platforms.

What Led us to Develop this Campaign

Buying and selling online through classifieds sites is an easy way for people to search for deals and find exactly what they are looking for in their community.

Unfortunately, classifieds sites also attract scammers who are willing to take advantage of the ad platforms’ popularity with customers and the anonymity that comes with the internet. Unscrupulous “sellers” sometimes post ads about fraudulent scams that look like great investments, but their only goal is to steal and exploit financial information from unknowing investors. While online scams are not new, scammers are getting better, bolder, and more sophisticated in their approach.

This campaign is just one of the ways the BC Securities Commission is working to drive awareness of the importance of investor education as essential in order to have a better investing experience and greater investor protection. Our goal with the campaign is to help people who use popular classified sites to recognize the warning signs of investment fraud and avoid losing money to fraudulent scams.

The BCSC encourages British Columbians to recognize, reject, and report suspicious online investment ads. We urge investors to remain vigilant, do thorough due diligence before making any financial commitment online, and report anything that looks like it might be a fraudulent investment to the BCSC.

The BCSC provides trustworthy and unbiased information and online tools through InvestRight.org, which helps investors get started with investing, protect themselves against fraud, and stay on top of any regulatory securities-related developments. InvestRight.org provides several fraud awareness resources, including the Fraud Warning Signs videos, educational articles, and interactive tools.

Report a Concern

If you have any concerns about a person or company offering an investment opportunity, please contact BCSC Inquiries at 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393, or through e-mail at [email protected]. You can also file a complaint or submit a tip anonymously using the BCSC’s online complaint form.

InvestRight.org is the British Columbia Securities Commission’s investor education website. Subscribe to receive email updates from BCSC InvestRight.

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