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The investment scam that was, but wasn’t

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2017 | Consumer Protection

For some of our readers delving into the below scam-related story, a famous quote attributed to President Lincoln might come readily to mind.

To wit: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

The bottom line with a purposefully orchestrated ruse authored by government officials in Canada to teach individuals susceptible to investment scams an important lesson adds what might be deemed a corollary to the above maxim, namely, that you can certainly fool a lot of the people one time.

Although, as noted, the subject matter in today’s post is Canada-based, we certainly deem it relevant in Pennsylvania and everywhere else across the country where con artists seek to profit through fraudulent manipulations aimed at good-faith consumers.

Here’s what officials from a provincial Canadian securities commission did: They created a bogus investment seminar, promoting it with all the requisite professional touches, including a website.

Notably, that online connection scored 8,500 hits, and nearly 50 people ultimately signed up for the seminar and its promised opportunity that would enable them to “profit like the experts.”

The ruse was eventually revealed to seminar attendees about halfway through the pitch, with government authorities thereafter interacting with prospective investors in a manner geared toward closely educating them about scam techniques and ways to avoid being duped.

Organizers admit to feeling a bit remiss about hooking members of the general public through the same type of artifice that is routinely practiced by real scammers, but one official says that regulators felt it important “to show people how easy it is to appear legitimate.”

Unquestionably, it is very easy, which necessarily raises the “caveat emptor” flag that is so often necessary to reference with consumers.

Regulators note that many investors are hesitant to report scams in which they are personally harmed.

They shouldn’t be. Indeed, timely contacting a proven consumer protection attorney can be precisely the purposeful action that is required to identify wrongdoing, obtain a damage recovery for any injuries suffered as a result of it, and help to deter its recurrence in the future.

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