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Fraud in classified ads

You might be targeted by fraud schemes offering what appear to be attractive investments: withdrawing money - tax-free - from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), your locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or your pension fund.

Example of an ad used by fraudsters:

 

$$$ Financial Assistance $$$
Financial assistance available using
an RRSP, LIRA or LIF

(pension fund from former employer)
Speedy and serious transaction
514 000-0000

Life fraud

Some fraudsters will try to convince you to take advantage of their so-called expertise and will propose that they conduct transactions in your name.

They'll ask you to transfer your RRSP or LIRA to a broker who will carry out trade orders (sell or buy) but do not provide advice. They will also ask for your authorization to access your account and for your password.

Using your money, they will then buy shares that are rising in value and which they already own themselves.

When the shares reach a certain price, they will sell their holdings and take a profit. The share price declines, you will be left holding shares with no real value. Some fraudsters prey on victims through ads similar to the one above.

 Be careful!

  • Never entrust your account to anyone you are unfamiliar with and never give out your password.

Note:

  • Withdrawals from your RRSP, LIRA or pension fund are fully taxable.
  • Make sure the representative and firm you are dealing with are registered with the AMF. Simply contact the AMF for this confirmation.
  • Make sure the company that issued the shares has filed a prospectus1 with the AMF.
  • Never take for granted that the person you are dealing with is telling the truth.
  • When it's too good to be true, then it probably is! 

The AMF can be of assistance, especially:

  • Through its Information Centre.
  • In some cases, with support in resolving a dispute with the firm that offered you a financial product or service.
  • Through its protection and compensation programs.
  • Through its educational programs and tools (brochures, conferences, websites, etc.).

More information about fraud is available in the AMF publication Red-flagging financial fraud.

Report suspicious activity


1 A prospectus is a detailed information document that normally must be prepared whenever an issuer plans to sell securities to the public.