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News Release

Canadian securities regulators warn public of coronavirus-related investment scams

  • Date:

    2020-03-19
  • Number:

    2020/23

Calgary The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is warning investors about companies claiming to have products or services that will prevent, detect or cure coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Fraudsters take advantage of global events and breaking news to lure potential investors with the expectations of significant returns. A common way they do this is through pump-and-dump schemes involving publicly traded small “shell” companies.

What Canadians need to know about pump-and-dump schemes:

  • These fraudulent penny stock companies may have limited or untrue publicly available information about the management team, their products or services, and their finances.
  • Fraudsters spread positive, but false, information that lures investors to purchase the stock. The false information may spread, for example, through hyped-up news releases, social media or paid promotional campaigns through other individuals, companies or websites. The more investors that purchase the stock, the more inflated or “pumped up” the price of the stock becomes.  
  • Fraudsters then quickly “dump” their stock before the hype ends, resulting in a substantial payout for them. The stock price then drops and the remaining investors lose their money.

At this time, there is no vaccine or any natural health product that is authorized to treat or protect against COVID-19. Be cautious of any claims that a company has a solution to help stop the coronavirus outbreak. Reliable information relating to COVID-19 is available from the World Health Organization and the Government of Canada.

When investing in any company, carefully research the investment and keep in mind that fraudsters often exploit the latest crisis. If you believe that you or someone you know has been offered a fraudulent opportunity related to the coronavirus, please contact your provincial or territorial securities regulator.

The CSA is also aware of instances where Canadians are targeted by scam artists using fear around the current economic conditions to attempt to steal the investor’s money. Investors contacted by anyone with warnings about their investments or finances should never give out any personal information, and contact their investment adviser or bank separately after independently verifying the phone number to ensure the caller is legitimate.

The CSA, the council of the securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, co- ordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.

For investor inquiries, please refer to your respective securities regulator. You can contact them here.

For media inquiries, please refer to the list of provincial and territorial representatives below or contact us at media@acvm-csa.ca.

Hilary McMeekin
Alberta Securities Commission
403-592-8186

Kristen Rose
Ontario Securities Commission
416-593-2336

Brian Kladko
British Columbia Securities Commission
604-899-6713

Sylvain Théberge
Autorité des marchés financiers
514-940-2176

Jason (Jay) Booth
Manitoba Securities Commission
204-945-1660

Shannon McMillan
Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan
306-798-4160

Sara Wilson
Financial and Consumer Services
Commission, New Brunswick
506-643-7045

Steve Dowling
Government of
Prince Edward Island,
Superintendent of Securities
902-368-4550

David Harrison
Nova Scotia Securities Commission
902-424-8586

Jeff Mason
Nunavut Securities Office
867-975-6591

Renée Dyer
Office of the Superintendent
of Securities
Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-4909

Tom Hall
Office of the Superintendent
of Securities
Northwest Territories
867-767-9305

Rhonda Horte
Office of the Yukon Superintendent
of Securities
867-667-5466