Identity fraud

Identity fraud (sometimes called “spoofing”) is a complex fraud where someone impersonates someone else in order to get hold of your personal information or money.

Identity theft can take several forms, and fraudsters will do anything to achieve their ends, including using AMF public information such as the certificate numbers of registered representatives listed in the Register of firms and individuals authorized to practise. The fraudster’s objective is to earn your trust by claiming to be a duly registered representative. You can avoid falling into their trap by taking a few precautions.

Jeanne has been a registered investment representative for the past 12 years and has a spotless record. A fraudster finds information about Jeanne on LinkedIn and in the AMF register. Using Jeanne’s identity, the fraudster sends text messages to as many potential victims as possible, offering them extraordinary returns on “risk free” investments.

Sandra receives the text message and is intrigued by the promise of high returns at no risk. She searches the AMF register to check whether Jeanne is registered. As Sandra is vigilant, she notices that some of the information in the text message does not match what’s in the register. After checking the workplace contact information in the text message, she finds out that the address is for a restaurant. Confused and concerned, she calls the phone number from Jeanne’s record in the AMF register.

Jeanne is surprised by what she hears and tells Sandra that she did not send the text message. Jeanne realizes that someone has stolen her identity and immediately informs the AMF and her employer.

By using Jeanne’s identity, the fraudster has tried to mislead investors by inducing them to hand over their personal information and money.

Recognize the red flags

Often, with this type of fraud, a fraudster will attempt to solicit you by text message or e-mail while impersonating a registered representative. The fraudster may, for example, offer you a once-in-a-lifetime “investment”. If you take the bait, your money will only go to pad the fraudster’s pockets and you may never see your money again. The fraudster may also offer you a loan at an attractive rate and use the opportunity to ask you for personal information and money to “open the file”. Once you hand over the information and your money, the fraudster will vanish into thin air.


How to protect yourself from spoofing

  • If the message is unsolicited, simply ignore it.
  • Check whether the person is listed in the AMF register. If they are, contact them to verify their identity using the contact information in the register.
  • Never disclose personal information or send money before calling the number in the AMF register (not the one in the text message or e-mail!) to verify the person’s identity.
  • If you are contacted by phone, ignore the call or tell the person you will call them back. If you really want to speak with the person, use the number in the AMF register, not the one given to you over the phone.
End of the insight