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The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) on Thursday warned Canadian investors about fraudsters that are illegally soliciting trades in binary options and cryptocurrencies while falsely claiming to be regulated investment dealers.

The self-regulatory organization says investors have recently contacted it asking about organizations that claim to be regulated by IIROC, including organizations doing business as:

  • – operated by Westrade Holdings, Inc.; and

“These businesses are not regulated by IIROC,” IIROC says in a news release.

“Binary options cannot be offered or sold to retail investors in Canada. No IIROC dealers are authorized to sell binary options to retail investors in Canada,” it adds.

Last year, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) adopted a ban on the sale of binary options to retail investors, amid concerns about the both the riskiness of these products and the high degree of outright fraud in this sector.

Investors have also contacted IIROC about businesses selling bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are also claiming to be regulated.

The SRO says that these firms in question are not regulated, and warns they seeking personal information from prospective victims, including birthdates, social insurance numbers, and banking information, “for the purposes of identity theft.”

“The investment firms and individuals regulated by IIROC must meet our high standards and deal fairly, honestly and in good faith with Canadian investors. Scammers are showing a reckless disregard for these very standards and are harming investors,” says Andrew Kriegler, president and CEO of IIROC, in a statement.

“Protecting investors and upholding the integrity of Canada’s capital markets are IIROC’s highest priorities. We urge investors to avoid ‘get rich quick’ scams and to be informed and intelligent consumers when shopping for investments or investment advice,” he adds.