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Covid-19 Provides an Opportunity for Fraudsters to Steal

Covid-19 Provides an Opportunity for Fraudsters to Steal

September 17, 2020

Canadians are trusting, and that makes us easy to steal from, writes Peter Watson.

Earlier this year the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police issued a joint warning about fraudulent investment opportunities related to the coronavirus.

Both organizations had heard that some Ontario investors have been offered investment products or services that could be useful in our fight against the coronavirus.

The warning to potential investors was to do your own research on these potential investment opportunities and talk to a registered investment advisor.

We can all understand that some companies will profit if they can develop solutions that can prevent or cure the virus. That can be tempting and potentially profitable for an investor.

The OSC developed four fraud alert videos to help educate potential investors from Covid-19 related scams.

One: Work from home scams. The idea was to profit from selling investment securities from home without any financial market knowledge, experience, or the required license.

Two: Warnings about your finances. Calls made by fraudsters intended to make you think the call is coming from your investment advisor about potential dangers in the market. The purpose of the call was to get personal information from you.

Three: Pump and dump scams. Fraudsters would release positive information about companies that were going to prevent, detect, or cure Covid-19. The hope was for investors to buy the stock, therefore driving the price up and at that point the fraudsters would sell their position for a profit.

Four: Fake government messages. Fraudsters would pose as working for the government with their goal of getting you to release personal or financial information.

Covid-19 is the most significant thing to affect our country and the rest of the world during our lifetime.

These are different times.

Different times provide the perfect opportunity for thieves to attempt to steal your money.

Our recommendation: be very careful.

Peter Watson, of Watson Investments MBA, CFP®, R.F.P., CIM®, FCSI offers a weekly financial planning column, Dollars & Sense. He can be contacted through