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Social Media and Lack of Public Reporting Contributing to Provincial Fraud

Manitoba, March 1, 2010 - The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) is encouraging Manitoba residents to take some time this month (Fraud Awareness Month) to learn about the basics of fraud prevention—especially when it comes to a couple of new and troubling trends. These trends include the increased use of popular social networking sites to target victims and Manitoban’s reluctance to report potential fraud. 

Only 21% of Manitobans that have been approached to invest in a scam report it to authorities (CSA Investor Index, 2009). “There are three reasons why Manitobans generally do not report fraud. If a scam offer comes by email people will generally not report it, if someone is not sure whether the offer is fraudulent they may not report it, and many people will not report fraud because they don’t think that reporting it will make any difference,” notes Len Terlinksi, Investigator with MSC. “In order to investigate and shut down fraudulent operations it is critical that Manitobans report the potential fraud to the MSC. Even if you are not sure whether an opportunity is fraudulent, report it, and our investigators will look into it,” recommends Terlinksi.  

Ainsley Cunningham, MSC’s Manager, Education and Communications has also noticed another concerning trend in our province. “Right now in Manitoba we are noticing an increased use of social networks as a venue for scam artists to target victims.” She adds,

“Scam artists are using sites like Facebook and MySpace to target potential victims by advertising fraudulent investments and perhaps more obviously, use these sites for identity theft. Be wary of investment pitches on social networking websites. Always check with MSC to make sure an investment is legitimate and remember to keep your private information out of the public domain. Anything you have posted about yourself can be viewed (and used) by others.”

To order a free Fraud Awareness Kit please visit MSCed.ca or contact Kristen Jones at (204) 945-1513.

To report a potential fraud please contact MSC at (204) 945-2548 and ask to speak to an investigator. 

About The Manitoba Securities Commission

The Manitoba Securities Commission is a special operating agency of the Government of Manitoba that regulates and promotes fair and efficient capital markets throughout the province. Part of our mandate is to educate the public in matters related to the investment industry. 

To schedule an interview or more information please contact:

Len Terlinski, Investigator
The Manitoba Securities Commission
Phone (204) 945-2548
Cell (204) 232-9145