Alberta Securities Commission helps Albertans to avoid getting burned when investing
Checkfirst.ca campaign offers morning coffee and advice, on the house
CALGARY – The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) is kicking off Fraud Prevention Month in March with a pop-up coffee shop, the CheckFirst Café. The Café is part of the ASC’s ongoing CheckFirst.ca campaign to help Albertans avoid investment fraud and to point them in the direction of resources they can use to protect themselves, their money and their financial dreams.
According to a recent survey conducted by the ASC, only one quarter of Albertans have ever checked into the background of a person selling or offering them investments. In addition, many Albertans are unaware that some of the most common channels of introduction to suspected fraudulent investments are friends, neighbours, co-workers or family members (28 per cent). The ASC’s CheckFirst.ca campaign provides Albertans with valuable investor education tools and resources to help them avoid investment fraud by reminding them to Check, Protect and then Invest.
The CheckFirst Café made its debut at the Calgary Home and Garden Show this past weekend, with a follow-up appearance scheduled for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show March 19 – 22. At these events, ASC representatives are on hand to educate visitors about the importance of doing research and asking the right questions before investing.
The CheckFirst Café will also take over Calgary’s own Café Rosso on Stephen Avenue (140 8 Avenue SE) from 7 – 10 a.m. on March 5 where the CheckFirst campaign will offer customers ‘Lost Dream Lattes’, ‘Fraud-accinos’ and other complimentary investment-themed early morning pick-me-ups, while providing information on how to ‘CheckFirst’ before investing.
An advertising campaign will continue to run province-wide throughout the month of March in an ongoing effort to educate Albertans about the ‘Red Flags’ of investment fraud, as well as the free ASC resources and tools available to help them improve their investing knowledge.
When looking at investment opportunities, red flags that can indicate potential fraud include the following:
· Promises of high returns, with no or low risk
· Schemes to send money offshore to avoid taxes
· Reliance on social networks to promote the investment – “your friends can’t be wrong!”
· Marketing materials that promote “Insider tips – profit like the experts!”
· Pressure to “get in now,” rather than taking the time to thoroughly research the investment
“When it comes to investing, knowledge is power – it is vital that Albertans take the time to do their homework before investing,” said Alison Trollope, Director, Communications and Investor Education, Alberta Securities Commission. “Many people don’t know how to check out an investment or where to look for resources on how to become an educated investor. We want them to know that the ASC is here to help with a variety of resources available to assist them in protecting their financial futures by making informed decisions.”
The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province’s securities laws. It is entrusted with protecting investors and fostering a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada’s capital markets.
For more information on how to avoid fraudulent investments, visit Checkfirst.ca.