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Unregistered trading, investment hucksters and illegal insider trading remain among the top risks facing Canadian investors in the new year, according to the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC).

The regulator published today a list of its top five investment risks for 2019, which features warnings about long-standing “red flags” for investors about possible scams, such as a lack of registration and the use of high-pressure sales tactics.

The list, which is based on information from the ASC’s enforcement department, also highlights the heightened risks surrounding new and emerging industries, such as the cannabis sector and cryptocurrencies.

“Scam artists will often build schemes around the latest trends as there is limited information and history available,” the ASC states, “making it easier to spread false information.”

Other top risks for investors include affinity fraud and illegal insider trading. The ASC notes that it recently adopted a new whistleblower program that provides protections to industry insiders who tip off the regulator of suspected misconduct.

“Albertans continue to fall victim to fraudulent investments,” said Alison Trollope, director, communications and investor education, with the ASC, in a statement. “And, looking into 2019, we want to empower them to make suitable and informed investment decisions. We periodically provide updates from our enforcement team to help Albertans understand what types of investment scams are occurring in their communities, and to detect fraudulent activity before falling victim.

“Bottom line,” Trollope added, “make sure you do your homework and research the opportunity before you invest in anything.”