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CSA Investor Alert: Advisor Impersonation Schemes

New SRO and the CSA are warning Canadian investors not to be fooled by fraudsters impersonating real investment advisors.

The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) and the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) are warning Canadian investors not to be fooled by fraudsters impersonating real investment advisors.

Recently, CIRO has noted a spike in advisor impersonation schemes. In communications with investors, fraudsters claim to be associated with legitimate firms, or pose as registered individuals. If you suspect anything unusual, always independently verify the person calling or emailing you is the person they claim to be. Often, the name given is a registered individual’s name, and the fraud is only revealed by a bogus email domain or phone number. Do not rely on unsolicited information, do your own research online, and contact the individual advisor and the firm directly to confirm it was them who had contacted you.

Fraudsters try to imitate legitimate financial institutions and send fake emails requesting personal or financial information. These are called phishing emails. Make sure you delete phishing emails and do not click on any links. They can carry harmful viruses that may infect your computer and steal your sensitive information.

Investors should also check the background, qualifications, and any disciplinary history of investment advisors registered with CIRO or the CSA by checking the free AdvisorReport for advisors registered with investment dealers or the CSA’s National Registration Search

Investors are also encouraged to check the CSA’s Investor Alerts page for a list of firms to avoid.

If you believe you have been a victim of this or a similar scam, immediately contact your bank, local police, the BC Securities Commission (BCSC), and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The CSA, the council of the securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, coordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.

CIRO is the national self-regulatory organization that oversees all investment dealers, mutual fund dealers, and trading activity on Canada’s debt and equity marketplaces. For more information, visit https://www.ciro.ca/.

Report a Concern

If you have any concerns about a person or company offering an investment opportunity, please contact BCSC Contact Centre at  604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393, or through email 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 BC Securities Commission’s investor education website. Subscribe to receive email updates from BCSC InvestRight.

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