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New Brunswickers report losing more than $1.2 million to investment frauds in 2023

News Release.

New Brunswickers reported losing more than $1.2 million to investment frauds and scams in 2023, according to the Financial and Consumer Services Commission of New Brunswick (the Commission). Investment fraud accounts for almost half of the money reported lost to fraud by New Brunswickers in 2023.

“Unfortunately, we know this number is much higher in reality,” said Marissa Sollows, the Commission’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs. “It’s estimated that 95% of victims of financial fraud don’t report the fraud.” 

March is Fraud Prevention Month, a national initiative aimed at empowering Canadians to recognize, reject, and report fraud. In support of this initiative, the Commission is raising awareness about the importance of checking if the people working with your money are registered or licensed with the Commission to do so – including investment trading platforms. 

Frauds related to investments, cryptocurrencies and digital assets continue to be predominant in the complaints and inquiries received by the Commission. An increasingly common scheme is known as “romance baiting” (or crudely, the “pig-butchering” scam), and combines tactics from investment scams, recovery scams and romance scams, to which New Brunswickers reported losing $547,128 to in 2023. 

This prevalent and financially devastating scheme targets individuals through online crypto or investing ads, or with unsolicited and seemingly random messages. The scammer initiates contact under the guise of a wrong number and then carries on communicating, trying to build a friendly or romantic relationship with their target. 

Once the fraudster establishes trust, they persuade their victim to open and deposit a small amount of money (usually around $350) into an online investment or crypto-trading account. Victims receive fake account statements showing large gains to encourage them to continue “investing”.

However, when victims try to withdraw their funds, the scammer demands additional fees or taxes to process the withdrawal. As victims continue trying to withdraw funds, the fraudster continues to delay, or completely vanishes.

“In reality, no assets are being traded, the taxes and fees are fake. Even though they may promise they can get your money back, without fail, the scammer eventually stops responding.” explains Sollows. 

In addition, victims are often instructed to download trading apps or other software, unknowingly giving the scammer access to their personal and financial information via their mobile device or computer, which is then used to further exploit the victim.

New Brunswickers also reported losing $16,085 to recovery pitch scams in 2023. In a recovery pitch, scammers target those who previously participated in or lost money to an investment fraud, claiming they can recover all or some of the lost funds. They may also pitch a new investment opportunity, to help recover the previous losses. Sometimes the caller is the original scammer disguised behind a new service, product, or offering. Sometimes, to gain your trust, they claim to be members of law enforcement or another type of authority. In the end, no funds are returned to the victim and more funds are stolen.

“If New Brunswickers do not check to make sure the investment trading platform they are using is registered, they put themselves at greater risk of becoming a victim of fraud,” said Sollows. “However, it is also important to note that being registered does not mean there are no risks. Taking the time to evaluate each opportunity and fully understand the risks involved before investing is a key step in protecting your money.”

The Commission strongly encourages New Brunswickers to ignore unsolicited messages or ads, and visit where they can check registration, and find resources including a consumer guide and a presentation, complete with information and tools to help protect themselves from this and other types of investment fraud. Consumers can also sign up to receive email notifications about consumer and investor frauds.

New Brunswickers who have been targeted by a fraud should report it to the Commission, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and their local police.

Audio files of Marissa Sollows, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Financial and Consumer Service Commission of New Brunswick

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FCNB has the mandate to provide regulatory services that protect the public interest, enhance public confidence, and promote understanding of the regulated sectors through educational programs. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, cooperatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at