Manitoba Securities Commission warns about unregistered offshore companies targeting Manitobans
Winnipeg, MB; October 15, 2015 – The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) is urging Manitobans to check the registration of any person or company that may be soliciting investors. This is a response to the numerous unregistered offshore individuals and firms that target Manitoba residents every day.
The MSC has received numerous complaints from Manitobans who have been approached by unregistered companies using high-pressure sales tactics and promises of high returns. These are all common red flags of investment fraud. Offering investment services or products, whether online or in person, is a regulated activity. Companies and individuals must be registered with the MSC to conduct business in the province.
Many of these solicitations have come from companies based outside of Canada, including some that deceptively maintain a Canadian phone number or mailing address. Investors should be aware that moving money outside of Canada is extremely risky. Once money has left the country, it is nearly impossible to recover.
The pitches that these individuals make to potential investors often involve investments in oil and gas, precious metals, futures and options or foreign exchange currencies (FOREX). One of this year’s most common schemes is trading binary options using unregistered online platforms based in countries like Cyprus and Belize. The problem is so significant that that the Canadian Securities Administrators recently issued a national alert that named 37 unregistered binary options platforms targeting Canadians.
Manitoba investors can easily find out if an individual or company is registered to sell securities by following the four-step process at RecognizeInvestmentFraud.com, where they can also check the discipline history of a financial adviser and find out if a product, company or person has been cease traded. Firms and individuals must meet specific requirements to be registered with the Manitoba Securities Commission.
The MSC advises all investors to keep the following tips in mind 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
- Report suspected scams to the MSC
Investors who believe that they have been approached by an investment fraud are encouraged to call the MSC at 1-855-FRAUD-MB to file a complaint or speak with an investigator.