The holidays often bring new ways to part with your money – but they should not include losing out to fraud. As scammers are more active at this time of year, it’s important to be vigilant.
For example, we often think of someone’s house, cars or toys like expensive jewelry, boats or recreational vehicles as measures of their financial success. Fraudsters know this, and often parade their toys around town to help generate trust within the community or establish a reputation as someone with a lot of money. They hope that people will wonder “how can I achieve that kind of financial success?”
If a person is living a lavish lifestyle, be cautious if they present you with a money-making opportunity. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that their opportunity is too “complex” for you to understand – ask questions until you are satisfied and have thoroughly investigated the opportunity on your own. Even if you have a friend or relative who invested and tries to persuade you to as well, don’t let word of mouth lead to you to being duped.
“It’s often difficult to spot a scam artist, in part because they tend to be really good at gaining trust,” explains Cynthia Campbell, director of enforcement at the Alberta Securities Commission, an organization whose mission is to foster a fair and efficient capital market and to protect investors.
“People need to do their own homework and determine if something is a legitimate investment and right for them. If it seems too good to be true, don’t hand over your money. And if you, like many other people, have been victimized, report it to the ASC and help us protect others.”
If you don’t know where to start in your research of a potential opportunity or what to ask, check out the Alberta Securities Commission’s website. Here you’ll find unbiased information and tips about how to ask the right questions, so you don’t get taken advantage of. Find more information at checkfirst.ca.