The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) issued a warning on July 27 about fraudsters claiming to be legitimate investment dealer firms regulated by IIROC.
“Fraudsters are impersonating trusted IIROC-regulated institutions through many channels, including genuine-looking phishing websites, high-quality brochures and other investment documents. These fraudulent sites or documents offer and market a fake guaranteed bond fund and GICs with unrealistic investment returns,” warned the regulator.
IIROC adds that some of the fake websites look nearly identical to the trusted institution's website with the same logo, brand, and likeness; others copy legitimate websites but change the firm's name and contact details. Calls to the phone numbers provided in the contact details typically reach a scammer pretending to be an employee of the IIROC-regulated firm. Other fraudulent websites claim to be a division or an affiliate of an IIROC-regulated firm.
IIROC advises victims of this type of scam to contact their local securities regulator. The regulator also provided tips for Canadians to protect themselves against the fraudsters:
- Before working with any investment firm, verify the firm is regulated by IIROC.
- Compare and confirm websites. Carefully check the domain names of any websites you visit, and cross-reference contact details on the website with other resources.
- Do an internet search for the company to determine if the website is legitimate or duplicates the company's site.
- Check for misspellings or variations on the company name on the website or email address.