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Securities commission warns of fraudulent work-from-home ads

The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) is warning investors about potentially fraudulent ads from companies offering opportunities to work from home as financial-market traders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Typically claiming to train you on trading stocks or forex, the ads state that traders can keep a large percentage of the profits, and they don’t need experience or a licence," a release from ASC stated. "However, the firms demand payment of fees from would-be traders, and the ASC believes neither the firms nor fees are legitimate."

In Canada, anyone in the business of trading securities must be registered with the securities regulator in each province or territory where they do business, unless an exemption applies. To become registered, individuals need to meet minimum proficiency standards.

"Day trading on the stock or foreign exchange markets is inherently high-risk and usually requires professional training and advanced software," ASC stated. "The extreme volatility of current market conditions compounds the level of difficulty in achieving the high returns the ads claim."

ASC expects similar scams will continue to pop up as more Canadians seek alternative sources of income due to layoffs or requirements to stay home during the COVID-19 crisis. Anyone who has information about these schemes is urged to contact ASC at inquiries@asc.ca or by calling 403-355-4151 (toll-free 1-877-355-4488). 

ASC also warns investors to look out for companies claiming to have products or services that will prevent, detect or cure COVID-19.

"At this time, there is no vaccine or natural health product that is authorized to treat or protect against COVID-19," it stated.

ASC urges the public to familiarize themselves with some common red flags of investing and other resources available at its investor-focused website, checkfirst.ca

Follow our COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national COVID-19 news, resources, FAQs and more.

airdrieTODAY Staff

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