St. John's - Canadian securities regulators are kicking off Fraud Prevention Month this March, by encouraging investors to be proactive in preventing investor fraud by checking registration.

Securities regulators across the country stress that being an informed investor is the best defence against investment fraud. A simple first step in protecting yourself is checking the registration of any firm or individual selling securities or offering investment advice.

The Canadian Securities Administrator (CSA) 2012 Investor Index revealed that 60 per cent of respondents with a financial adviser have never completed any form of background check. With almost 30 per cent of Canadians believing they have been approached with an investment fraud at some point in their life and with 4.6 per cent believing they have been a victim of investment fraud, Canadians need to carefully choose who they hand over their money to.

"Checking registration is an essential part of any investor's due diligence," said Bill Rice, Chair of the CSA and Chair and CEO of the Alberta Securities Commission. "To protect their investment, we encourage all Canadians to check the registration of any individual or firm offering an investment opportunity."

The CSA has provided investors with a tool, the National Registration Search, that is quick and easy to use. Registration is designed to help protect investors because Canadian securities regulators will only register firms and individuals that meet specific qualifications and standards. In terms of investor protection, registration status or category is more important than a title, because either one tells the investor what types of products or services a firm or individual is qualified to sell or provide advice on.

CSA is encouraging investors nationwide to participate in Check Registration Day, March 26, 2013. Here's how:

If you discover the person you are dealing with is not registered, contact your local securities commission immediately.

The CSA, the council of securities regulators of Canada's provinces and territories, coordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets. Their mandate is to protect investors from unfair or fraudulent practices through regulation of the securities industry. Part of this protection is educating investors about the risk, responsibilities and rewards of investing.

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For more information:

Lorinda Brinton
Alberta Securities Commission
403-297-2665

Carolyn Shaw-Rimmington
Ontario Securities Commission
416-593-2361

Sylvain Théberge
Autorité des marchés financiers
514-940-2176

Richard Gilhooley
British Columbia Securities Commission
604-899-6713

Ainsley Cunningham
Manitoba Securities Commission
204-945-4733

Wendy Connors-Beckett
New Brunswick Securities Commission
506-643-7745

Tanya Wiltshire
Nova Scotia Securities Commission
902-424-8586

Glenys Wood
Financial and Consumer Affairs
Authority of Saskatchewan
306-787-9397

Janice Callbeck
The Office of the Superintendent
Securities, P.E.I.
902-368-6288

Craig Whalen
Office of the Superintendent of Securities
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-5661

Rhonda Horte
Office of the Yukon Superintendent of Securities
867-667-5466

Louis Arki
Nunavut Securities Office
867-975-6587

Donn MacDougall
Northwest Territories Securities Office
867-920-8984