The Autorite des marches financiers (AMF) is launching an awareness campaign to help Quebecers recognize when they may be the victim of a scam during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a perfect environment for fraudsters, particularly for approaching potential investors,” reads a news release from the AMF.
The AMF will broadcast fraud prevention messages on TV, social media and over the web from April 6 to May 25 with tips on how to recognize, avoid and report potential fraud attempts.
“We believe it is important to issue reminders in these particularly challenging times. In addition to awareness activities, our teams are performing ongoing monitoring and are in direct contact with regulators in the other Canadian provinces and territories and elsewhere in the world,” said AMF President and CEO Louis Morisset.
The AMF is maintaining all services through the COVID-19 pandemic and will make efforts to intervene in fraud cases.
The AMF gave three recently reported examples of fraud:
- Fraudsters are using the Internet and social media to offer opportunities to invest in companies claiming to be involved in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infections. They usually promise high returns, often at zero risk, and push their targets to make a snap investment to take advantage of a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.
- Fraudsters are soliciting job seekers on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Craigslist and Kijiji. The offers may seem very realistic and may come from known companies, including financial institutions. To make their offers appear legitimate, fraudsters may ask the target to complete employment, income tax or access to personal and banking information forms.
- Fraudsters are playing on fears caused by the current economic conditions to approach their victims. For example, people may receive unsolicited e-mail or text messages warning them about their investments or personal finances. These messages usually direct them to click on a hyperlink or open an attachment.
The goal, according to the ATF, is to gain personal information or install malware on your computer or cell phone. Before investing in anything, citizens can call the AMF to check if the investment is registered.
Go to the COVID-19 section on the ATF site for more information.
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