About one quarter of British Columbians are vulnerable to investment fraud, says a recent poll commissioned by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC).
In February, the BCSC surveyed over 500 British Columbians on their reaction to an investment offer that claimed "guaranteed" returns of 14 to 25 per cent and "no risk". Although the claim contains several investment fraud warning signs, 26 per cent of respondents said the offer was "worth looking into." In addition, more than 20 per cent of the respondents who would look into the offer said they were interested because they need the money.
Listen to your gut
"Investors should always be skeptical of anyone offering a risk free investment with an unusually high return, because there's no such thing," said Pamela McDonald, director, Communications and Education, BCSC in a March 5 announcement. "We encourage investors to look carefully at every investment they make, but also to listen to your gut. If something doesn't make sense, or doesn't feel right, we encourage you to contact the BCSC."
Those who were most susceptible to fraud were younger respondents, particularly young women. Nearly half of female millennials (47 per cent) said they would look into the fraudulent offer, as did over a third (35 per cent) of men in the same age group.
The least susceptible were respondents aged 55 and over. Only 13 per cent were vulnerable to the offer.
Fraud prevention month
"We're launching our 2018 Fraud Prevention Month campaign today to help investors recognize fraud and stop scams from spreading. This new survey provides a useful snapshot of how many British Columbians are still vulnerable," said McDonald. "By being able to recognize and reject investment fraud, you could also be protecting your friends and family."