In June of 2021, the Grenville County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received an investment fraud complaint. The victim reported investing approximately $100,000 with an individual who claimed to be a securities investor offering bookkeeping and income tax services.
According to a release from the OPP, the suspect was found to be operating within the following areas: Grenville County, Leeds County, Rideau Lakes Township, the City of Brockville and the City of Kingston.
The OPP and the Brockville Police Service (BPS) have since identified five additional victims, having lost an estimated $800,000. Due to the ongoing investigation, the name of the suspect and the company cannot be disclosed at this time, however investigators believe the suspect may be continuing to target possible investors, according to the release.
How can investors protect themselves?
According to the OPP, being an informed investor is one of the best defences against investment frauds. Although most investment advisers are honest, investors still need to be careful in choosing who they invest with.
In Canada, anyone trading securities or in the business of advising clients on securities must be registered with the provincial or territorial securities regulator, unless an exemption applies. A securities regulator will only register firms and individuals if they meet their standards.
Before investing OPP suggest following these simple steps:
- Check registration
- Check disciplinary history
- Check the news and search the internet
- Check available tools and resources
- Check investor alerts
For further information, visit: Are They Registered? – Canadian Securities Administrators (securities-administrators.ca).
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) regulates capital markets in Ontario, and an essential part of its role is developing rules and guidelines that protect investors. OPP advises the public to check before you invest | OSC.
Fraud Prevention Month (March) is about the fraud prevention community working together to create greater awareness and to highlight the various ways that all Canadians are being targeted by fraud, according to the release. By emphasizing the education component, OPP said that Canadians can be better prepared.
Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to their local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. If not a victim, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre anyways.