Investor Warnings Securities

Montréal – In connection with Fraud Awareness Month, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) urges the public to learn to recognize fraud and protect your personal finances. Anyone can fall victim to fraud. However, steps can be taken to avoid it.

When it’s too good to be true! ?

  • You’re promised high returns, at no risk. ?
  • You’re unfamiliar with the persons contacting you, or you met them only recently. ?
  • You’re told that the shares of a company will soon be publicly traded and are now available at a discount. ?
  • You are told to act quickly to take advantage of a “great” investment opportunity. ?
  • You’re asked to keep the matter secret, since this investment opportunity is being offered only to select individuals such as yourself.

Learn to recognize fraud. The above circumstances do not necessarily mean fraudulent practices. However, fraud or attempts at fraud may be lurking behind them.

Typically suspicious statements

“Few people are aware, but the company is about to sign a huge contract.” If this is true, then the information is privileged, and it is illegal to trade in securities based on information not available to the general public.

“The return is guaranteed. You can’t lose.” It is rare for securities to offer high returns without being subject to some degree of risk. You should first make sure that the investment reflects your risk tolerance.

Suspicious behaviour

  • You’re asked to act fast, because this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
  • You’re asked to keep the matter secret. • You’re asked to sign forms or proxies in advance.
  • You’re given back-dated purchase forms.
  • You’re being subjected to sales pressure and attempts are made to make you feel guilty for not taking advantage of the opportunity.
  • You’re told your securities could be resold or exchanged above their market value provided you pay fees in advance.
  • Financial transactions are carried out without your consent.
  • You’re told that a regulatory agency has “approved” the securities distribution.

Watch out for phishing

Financial institutions have recently been targets of fraudulent on-line practices known as “phishing.” This consists of sending e-mails to numerous clients of recognized financial institutions by making deceptive use of their visual corporate identities.

  • E-mail recipients are then asked to update their personal or banking information under false pretences, such as:
  • computer breakdown;
  • new legislation;
  • updating client lists;
  • etc.

When responding to these e-mails by clicking on a link to a website that is a deceptive replica of an existing financial institution website, victims send information that is subsequently used for fraudulent financial purposes.

Be alert. Always remember that financial institutions generally do not contact clients by e-mail to ask for such information.

Tips

  • NEVER click on an embedded link in an e-mail asking for personal or banking information, and above all NEVER respond to such an e-mail.
  • Use devices such as firewalls and anti-phishing software.
  • After logging out of your financial institution’s website, empty your cache memory to protect the confidentiality of your personal information.
  • If you’ve been a victim of fraudulent practice, immediately contact your financial institution. Discuss what steps to take to protect your bank accounts. Check your account statements thoroughly.

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial sector.

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Information:

Media only:
Philippe Roy (514) 940-2176
Issuers, dealers, advisers and representatives: (877) 525-0337, choose option 9 for English, then 1 for industry
Consumers and investors: (877) 525-0337, choose option 9 for English, then 8 for consumers

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