Metal handcuffs placed over the word fraud

Fake advisors, phony job offers and other investment scams continue to flourish amid the Covid-19 outbreak, regulators are warning.

Since the pandemic emerged, regulators have repeatedly warned about increasing fraudulent activity, including pump-and-dump schemes seeking to capitalize on the outbreak, phishing attempts targeting investors and industry firms, and efforts to defraud government relief programs.

Now, regulators in New Brunswick have issued an alert detailing the emergence of other sorts of investment scams. These new schemes include fraudsters posing as investment professionals that offer to help investors recoup losses suffered during the pandemic. Another scam involves unsolicited emails offering jobs managing a multi-million dollar investment fund on behalf of a “group of VIP clients.”

The province’s Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) warned consumers to exercise caution when receiving unsolicited offers to work as a securities trader “without any former experience or a licence.”

The regulator also reported that scammers are posing as public health officials, and falsely claiming that victims have been exposed to Covid-19, in an effort to steal health card and credit card numbers or other personal information.

Canada, of course, is not the only country seeing an uptick in fraud. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) reported today that it has seen a rise in crypto-asset scams during the pandemic.

Complaints about crypto-related schemes were up 20% between March and May compared with the same period last year, the ASIC said.

The ASIC also noted that it has seen an increase in “romance” scams involving purported online romances leading to investment schemes concerning either crypto-assets or forex trading.