Montréal – With Fraud Prevention Month just a few days away, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) wants to remind the public of how important good vigilance practices are in helping prevent fraud. This year the AMF is focusing on cryptoasset fraud, because even though they lost a lot of their value during the past year and a number of platforms have collapsed, cryptoassets are still drawing a broad spectrum of investors into a digital world without borders.
“Consumers looking to invest on a self-directed basis are turning more and more to social media for information—or all too often, disinformation—about financial products and services,” AMF President and CEO Louis Morisset said. “Their financial decisions are increasingly guided by the advice of so-called finfluencers whose goal, in many cases, is not to make sure their audience is properly informed but to maximize the number of clicks and views they get or to profit financially from the buzz around securities or cryptoassets they themselves sometimes have invested in.”
Two key observations
As cryptoasset fraud continues to gain ground, the number of scams, and victims, is on the rise. The AMF, tasked with ensuring the integrity of the financial sector, has two key observations to share. “First, traditional financial literacy is no longer enough: consumers also need to learn how to use mobile apps in a secure manner, how to recognize on-line fraud schemes, how to protect their personal information, and how to give their informed consent to the sharing of that information,” Louis Morisset added. “Second, more than ever before, the first and only line of defence against digital risks is consumer vigilance.”
Develop good practices before investing
The AMF encourages anyone interested in investing in cryptoassets to do the same research that they would do for other financial or technological products, using reliable resources, before making a decision, and to avoid the trap of FOMO syndrome, a fear of missing out, which is actively exploited by fraudsters. They should also check whether the cryptoasset platform they are planning to use is registered with the AMF. Currently, only ten platforms are registered in compliance with securities regulations.
A list of Investor warnings related to websites whose activities are high-risk or potentially fraudulent, a list of currently registered crypto trading platforms and a web page dedicated to the main types of cryptoasset fraud are available on the AMF website. Members of the public can also contact the AMF Information Centre with their questions. In addition, the AMF can accept whistleblower reports concerning individuals or organizations whose activities appear suspicious or fraudulent.
The Autorité des marchés financiers is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.
Sylvain Théberge: 514-940-2176
Québec City: 418-525-0337
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