Educate Canadians about fraud

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, more than 100,000 Canadians fell victim to fraud in 2021 and lost $380 million, double the number in 2020.

According to the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA)’s latest investor education activity report, information is the ultimate weapon against the schemes of fraudsters.

In his introduction to the document, President Stan Magidson noted that “more than ever, we need reliable and objective sources of information to make sound and informed financial decisions.”

Social media plays an important advocacy role in regulators’ fight against fraudsters. The CSA notably used this tool at the beginning of the year to promote the customer-oriented reforms introduced in 2021.

In March, they used TikTok for the first time to celebrate Fraud Prevention Month. With over 9.6 million impressions, the campaign urged Gen Z and millennials to do their research before investing in cryptocurrencies.

Cryptoactive fraud

Several projects by Canadian regulators aim to alert investors to fraud related to investments in crypto-assets.

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has prioritized a campaign on TikTok to warn consumers against investment offers posted on social media.

The Ontario regulator says it received nine times more reports of attempted cryptocurrency scams in 2021 than the previous year.

The Saskatchewan Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCC) says it has published dozens of warnings on its website against malicious people and companies related to cryptocurrencies. In these warnings, he explained what scams are and how to protect yourself by being suspicious of e-mails, discussion forums and blogs from unknown sources, for example.

For its part, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has published a guide to explain securities legislation applicable to crypto-assets, as well as factors to consider before making any investment. It has also created a help tool to help consumers distinguish fake or cloned websites from real ones.

In Quebec, the Autorité des marchés Financiers (AMF) posted messages on social media directing readers to a crypto-asset fraud prevention page. Some messages from the Registry of Licensed Entities and Individuals to encourage consumers to check the registration of a cryptocurrency promoter before investing. AMT also launched the second phase of its digital campaign targeting 18-25 year olds earlier in the year. This campaign focused on fraud and high volatility, two risks associated with acquiring cryptoassets.

Self-directed investors

The number of do-it-yourself investors has increased in the country. In most cases, these investors are male millennials, a customer group that is difficult to reach through traditional communication channels. To reach this audience, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission of New Brunswick developed a campaign about a craft brewer that the target customer could easily identify with. This campaign was spread across several social media platforms including TikTok.

The voice of the victims

A podcast in Manitoba shed light on the techniques used by fraudsters to help consumers spot scams before it’s too late. This podcast features voiceovers to victims who have dared to speak of their woes, and features excerpts from real conversations between investigators and fraudsters.

“Many times, the deceived people do not report to the authorities, being ashamed of being deceived, not knowing that many intellectuals have fallen into similar traps,” the regulator notes.

JSC’s Office of Investors shared conversations on Twitter with law enforcement agencies, partner regulators, and community and industry organization representatives.

Other regulatory initiatives include a webinar on financial resilience for women with serious illnesses, a financial toolkit for people with autism, an ESG investment platform, and a tool to test behavioral biases in financial decision-making.

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