Montréal – The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a perfect environment for fraudsters, particularly for approaching potential investors. That is why the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is launching an awareness campaign to help Quebeckers recognize, avoid and report any potential fraud attempts targeting them. From April 6 to May 25, 2020, fraud prevention messages will be broadcast on television, via the Internet and over social networks.
“Fraud prevention is central to our mission, and we believe it is important to issue reminders in these particularly challenging times. In addition to awareness activities, our teams are performing ongoing monitoring and are in direct contact with regulators in the other Canadian provinces and territories and elsewhere in the world,” said Louis Morisset, AMF President and CEO. “Despite the current pandemic, the AMF is maintaining all of its services and making every effort to ensure that it is able to intervene in cases of fraud or when an offence is committed under the laws administered by it.”
The AMF reminds Quebeckers that fraud attempts can take many forms. Here are three recently reported examples of fraud:
- Fraudsters are using the Internet and social media to offer opportunities to invest in companies claiming to be involved in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 infections. They usually promise high returns, often at zero risk, and push their targets to make a snap investment to take advantage of a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.
- Fraudsters are soliciting job seekers on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Craigslist and Kijiji. The offers may seem very realistic and may come from known companies, including financial institutions. To make their offers appear legitimate, fraudsters may ask the target to complete employment, income tax or access to personal and banking information forms.
- Fraudsters are playing on fears caused by the current economic conditions to approach their victims. For example, people may receive unsolicited e-mail or text messages warning them about their investments or personal finances. These messages usually direct them to click on a hyperlink or open an attachment. The fraudsters’ goal is to obtain personal information or install malware on a computer or cell phone.
Before investing, you need to ask questions, do some research and check whether the person offering the investment is registered with the AMF. When in doubt, consult the section Covid-19: Watch out for financial fraud of our website for unbiased, objective information or call the AMF at 1 877-525-0337.
The Autorité des marchés financiers is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.
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In light of the exceptional situation caused by COVID-19, the AMF has changed its service offering to maximize its ability to assist you during the current period.
- If you’re a journalist, please contact Sylvain Théberge at 514-940-2176.
- If you’re a consumer, we encourage you to contact us using the on-line Request for information form This link will open in a new window on our website.
- If you’re an industry member, you can contact us via AMF E-Services.
You can also follow us via our usual channels: