October 11, 2011
InvestRight Campaign Launch, Vancouver, Brenda Leong: Be Fraud Aware


Thank you all for joining us today. 

I would first like to recognize the many leaders in the South Asian and Chinese communities who have taken the time to join us this morning.

Protecting investors is a high priority of the Commission. We see far too many people being targeted for fraudulent investment schemes. And while this is not unique to our province, there is a great deal we can do to protect people right here in British Columbia.

Since the advent of our investor education program, InvestRight, the Commission has developed and implemented investor education programs guided by national and BC-based research to help us understand investor behaviour and awareness of fraud.

We have learned that 48% of British Columbians have been approached with a possible fraudulent investment in their lifetime and just over 10% report having fallen victim to investment fraud. Half were introduced to the fraud through an existing relationship of trust, such as a friend, family, community leader or work colleague.

Victims have openly described the devastating effects of investment fraud on their health and on their social relationships – family, friends and community. In some cases, they have lost their life savings, their homes and are no longer able to send their kids to university, or in the case of seniors living on a fixed income, challenged to afford the costs of everyday living.

This is why the BC Securities Commission is launching a three-year “Be Fraud Aware” campaign to deal with this serious problem.

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the warning signs of investment fraud among all British Columbians. This year we will focus on the Chinese and South Asian communities, the two biggest ethnic groups in BC, and will expand the campaign in years two and three to reach all British Columbians.

Our research with Chinese-speaking British Columbians told us that almost a third rely on investment information from friends and family, making them a potential target for affinity fraud – a scheme that relies on close relationships within tight-knit groups.

We also know that awareness of the BC Securities Commission and our consumer website Investright is very low in these communities.

We plan to change that.

The “Be Fraud Aware” campaign will run for seven weeks using both traditional advertising and social media.  Beginning today, we will run television ads in Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi, supplemented with full and half page newspaper ads. Radio spots will be run in Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
We will also use social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube to get our messages out.

The campaign will direct people to InvestRight to find a lot of easy-to-understand information and videos about investor protection and investing – in Chinese, Punjabi and English.

I would like to acknowledge Slingshot Communications, the creative mind behind the campaign and their Chinese and South Asian consultants who oversaw the adaptations or trans-creations as they are called.

It is now my pleasure to show you parts of the campaign … starting with the Cantonese TV ad [campaign elements presented]:

The same scenario will also run in Mandarin. Here it is in Punjabi.

  • We will support the TV with newspaper ads.
  • Here you see our scammers from the TV ads again, promoting a deal that’s too good to be true.
  • And here’s the back page of the same ad, with our key message – Protect your dreams. Learn the warning signs of investment fraud. Visit InvestRight-dot-org
  • The half-page ad shows the couple who lost their money ‘outing’ the fraud artist.  “12-15% Returns? Not likely!”

All ads point to InvestRight-dot-org. For the campaign period, InvestRight will be the gateway to a set of three micro-sites – in Chinese, English, and Punjabi.

At the micro-site you can move the magnifying glass over the inflated claims to reveal the truth and learn the warning signs of fraud. We have a computer set up over there if you want to try it out this morning. 

Each micro-site also provides in-language fraud awareness information, including printable info sheets and posters, and videos that tell stories based on a real scams that occurred in British Columbia a couple of years ago.

An important goal of this campaign is to increase the reporting of investment fraud to help us disrupt, stop and prevent it from happening. Unfortunately less than 25% of people approached with a fraudulent scheme reported it. It is in all our interests to get that level up.

You can report to us by telephone to our inquiries line, and talk directly to trained staff who will help you out.

You can also report to us on-line by filling out a simple form on InvestRight. You can do it anonymously if you want.  We will provide individuals with translation services as required. It’s a free service.

Remember Be Fraud Aware.  And share this information with your friends, family and community.

Thank you.