Manitoba Securities Commission Fraud Prevention

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Alerts & Cautions

Manitoba friends lose big money to foreign fraudsters

Posted: July 5 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 5, 2016

 

Manitoba friends lose big money to foreign fraudsters

Winnipeg - The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) is strongly cautioning the public to reconsider investing with so-called ‘binary options’ trading firms. Three Manitobans have made complaints to MSC after losing a combined $144,446 through PluStocks, an online binary options trading company not registered to conduct business in Canada.

One victim learned of PluStocks through an Internet advertisement and created an account. Early on, he was able to withdraw some of his ‘investment’ and encouraged two friends to invest on the belief he’d found a zero-risk, high yield opportunity. All three were told to expect a potential 75% gain within 30 days, and that they could withdraw their money at any time.

“Next came a series of unauthorized credit card charges from companies they didn’t recognize,” said Jason Roy, senior investigator with MSC, “When the friends realized there was a problem, requests to withdraw their money were ignored. It was too late. Unfortunately, we’re seeing this pattern far too often.”

The victims have lost $84,486.08, $46,396.58, and $13,503.85 CAD.

“These companies are exceptionally good at what they do—parting people with their money,” says Roy. “One of these men has lost his entire RSP and had to re-mortgage his home. They can destroy a person’s future.”

PluStocks is affiliated with Almog Ltd. PSBM Ltd., Altredo Ltd., and Greymountain Management, and associated with offices in London, U.K.; Dublin, Ireland; Nahariyya, Israel; and Saint Vincent, Grenadines. These addresses may be fabricated.

This year, Manitobans have reportedly lost nearly $330,000 to unregistered, offshore binary options firms, trading under a variety of names. The MSC believe losses are higher due to unreported cases.

Binary Options are a sort of ‘wager’ where investors bet on the performance of an asset, often a currency, stock index, or share, usually in a short period of time—sometimes minutes or even seconds. When that period is up, the investor receives a predetermined payout or loses his wager. It’s an “all or nothing” proposition. In some instances, no actual trading takes place—the sales pitch is just a channel to steal money. A request to send money offshore to an unregistered firm is a red flag for investment fraud.

MSC advises all investors to follow these tips to prevent becoming a victim of investment fraud:

• Never send money to anyone you only know from an unsolicited phone call or email

• Never give out sensitive personal information online or over the phone

• Research an investment before making a commitment

• Make sure the firm and individual you are dealing with are registered in Manitoba by checking their registration status at recognizeinvestmentfraud.com – there are currently no binary options firms registered to sell securities in Canada

Investors who believe they’ve been approached by an unregistered individual or firm should contact MSC immediately at 1-855-FRAUD-MB to file a complaint or speak with an investigator.

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 | (w) 204.945.1660 | jason.booth@gov.mb.ca