Manitoba Securities Commission Fraud Prevention

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Alerts & Cautions

Investor Alert: TorexFX - Investment website promises ‘unearthly’ profits to Manitobans

Posted: August 26 2020

Winnipeg - The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) is issuing an investor alert on TorexFX, an online ‘trading’ platform allegedly operating in the UK, Switzerland, and Cyprus, and targeting Manitobans. The company is purportedly exploiting fears around market volatility due to COVID to entice investors.

The company claims investors can earn up to 5% compounded interest daily with a minimum deposit of $5,000. This claim (as promised) would result in profit of $271 billion US in just one year. Over 15 months, a patient investor would net approximately $90 trillion.

“When you work out the math, it’s easy to see their claims are impossible, but not everyone will think to do that,” says Jason Roy, Senior Investigator with the MSC. “When you’re speaking to a sophisticated, high-pressure sales person saying all the right things, it’s easy to get carried away and make poorly-informed decisions. That’s what fraudsters depend on.”

After learning TorexFX was utilizing a Canadian phone number, an MSC investigator opened an account with TorexFX using an alias and, as typical of a boiler room fraud, received a call within an hour. 

A ‘trade advisor’ going by the name of Jonathan Spencer (likely an alias) guided the investigator through the initial sign-up process, explaining that COVID-related market volatility is helping his ‘clients’, including many Canadians, earn large returns. Spencer also requested personal information including a driver’s license and utility bill. The investigator was instructed to deposit funds via a link that automatically converted the investment money to Bitcoin and transferred it to an electronic wallet. 

Scam artists are commonly using processes like this to prevent payments from being traced. Fraudulent offshore ‘investment’ companies often provide bogus trading and profit information as a way to get investors to continue to invest. Typically, investors do not realize that there is a problem until they attempt to withdraw a large sum of money. 

“Always start by checking the registration status of the company or individual at aretheyregistered.ca,” says Roy. “Scammers will sometime claim they’re registered, but you can’t take them at their word—always check first.”

Following an investigation, MSC is issuing an alert on TorexFX, torexfx.com, and Jonathan Spencer. Neither company nor Spencer is, or has ever been, registered to trade in securities in Manitoba. MSC has confirmed with the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission that neither TorexFX or Spencer are registered in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Cypress.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has also issued an investor caution on TorexFX.

Anyone who is considering buying or selling an investment should practice due diligence: research the company thoroughly and/or talk to their registered investment advisor to ensure it is an appropriate decision. Manitobans should also be aware of the red flags of fraud:

 

  •  promises of high returns with low risk  
  • unregistered salespeople and companies
  • pressure to invest quickly / limited time offers
  • secret or ‘insider’ information / exclusive offers
  • offers from complete strangers
  • inconsistent details / avoiding questions / no paper trail
  • unorthodox payment methods / payment via cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin)

Before investing check to see if the individual or company are registered to do business in Manitoba. This online check can be done at aretheyregistered.ca.

Members of the public are advised to contact MSC if they believe they have been targeted by any type of investment fraud attempt. MSC’s anti-fraud line is 1-855-FRAUD-MB.

The public can also visit recognizeinvestmentfraud.com for more information on common investment frauds and scams.

The Manitoba Securities Commission is a division of the Manitoba Financial Services Agency, a Special Operating Agency of the Government of Manitoba that protects investors and promotes fair and efficient capital markets throughout the province. 

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Media Inquiries:                   

Jason Booth, Communications Coordinator, MSC | 204.945.1660 |  jason.booth@gov.mb.ca