Tips to Spot and Prevent Fraud

A woman holding mobile phone
  1. Always check registration before you give anyone your information, or your money!
    • Just because a company claims to be regulated by IIROC doesn’t mean they are.
    • Use IIROC’s AdvisorReport to check a potential advisor or firm’s registration.
  2. Access the dealer’s website through a reliable source, such as typing the web address into the browser, and always check that the website address is correct.
    • Fraudsters use website cloning and domain impersonation so that their fake pages look almost identical to legitimate firms’ pages to trick potential investors. Fraudulent websites often intentionally misspell names and use hyphens.
    • Double check that the URL is exact or use a source like IIROC’s Dealers We Regulate page to reach a firm’s web address.
  3. Never give a firm more money to withdraw your funds.
    • IIROC and other regulators will never require you to “upgrade your account” or pay a fee to access your funds.
    • Report anyone or any firm claiming that regulatory requirements prevent them from allowing you to withdraw your funds to the Canadian Securities Administrators or to our Complaints and Inquiries group if the firm claims to be regulated by IIROC at [email protected] or by calling 1-877-442-4322.
  4. Never install programs allowing remote access or provide direct access to your computer.
    • Only provide a firm or dealer access to any personal information after you’ve checked their registration!
  5. Watch out for red flags. Be wary of:
    • Cold calls from firms you have had no dealings with;
    • Anyone claiming you can make “immediate”, “extreme”, or “guaranteed” gains;
    • An urgent push to invest right away;
    • Anyone using a personal Gmail, Hotmail or other public email or social account, (registered dealers are not allowed to use personal accounts to do business).
    • “Recovery scams” where fraudsters offer to help you get back your money – if you pay them more money!

Fraud Prevention Month Tips

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose financial challenges and uncertainty for many. Financial scams pose a significant risk to Canadians and investment scams often target people experiencing financial hardship.
  2. Professional fraudsters go where the money is.
  3. Recognize these four red flags of investment scams:
    1. Promises of high returns with little or no risk 
    2. Claims of insider info 
    3. Pressure to buy 
    4. Not registered to sell investments.
  4. Always check registration before you give anyone your information, or your money! Just because a company claims to be regulated by IIROC doesn’t mean they are. Check our Dealers We Regulate page.
  5. Always confirm the person calling or emailing you is the person they claim to be. Oftentimes, the name given is a registered individual's name and the fraud is only revealed by a bogus email domain or phone number.
  6. Did you know that fraudsters use website cloning and domain impersonation to make their fake pages look legitimate to trick potential investors. Fraudulent websites often intentionally misspell names and use hyphens.
  7. Did you know that scammers will try to imitate a financial institution and send fake emails requesting personal or financial information? These are called phishing emails. Make sure you delete phishing emails and do not click on any links. They can carry harmful viruses that can infect your computer.
  8. Many scams request you to pay fees in advance of receiving goods, services, or a prize. It's illegal for a company to ask you to pay a fee upfront before they'll give you a loan.
  9. Never give a firm more money to withdraw your funds. IIROC and other regulators will never require you to “upgrade your account”, pay a fee or deposit additional funds to access your funds.
  10. Report anyone or any firm claiming that regulatory requirements prevent them from allowing you to withdraw your funds to the Canadian Securities Administrators or to our Complaints and Inquiries group if the firm claims to be regulated by IIROC at [email protected] or by calling 1-877-442-4322. 
  11. Never install programs allowing remote access or provide direct access to your computer. Only provide a firm or dealer access to any personal information after you’ve checked their registration!
  12. It’s important to report fraud. It’s one of the best ways for authorities to gather the evidence needed to bring down fraudsters and better protect you. Learn more about reporting fraud here: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If the fraudster claims to be regulated by IIROC, make a complaint here: How to Make a Complaint.
  13. Be wary of cold calls via social media and personal email accounts. Legitimate investment firms and advisors are not allowed to use personal accounts to do business. Before you respond, be sure to check their registration in our Advisor Report.
  14. Wondering if your investment firm is legit? Double check the website and/or domain name.
  15. Verifying registration is the first step to take before investing. Check the CSA’s National Registration Search to see if the person or company you are dealing with registered.

Learn more and recognize the signs of fraud.