A framegrab from a BCSC video exposing the no-risk, high-return swindle.

It’s a musical with a message, and a decidedly unusual approach to Fraud Prevention Month. The British Columbia Securities Commission invited people for free refreshments and advice in a downtown Victoria coffee shop, then surprised them with a two-minute musical starring Mark Donnelly.

“We want people to remember the warning signs of fraud, as well as some other actions they can take to protect their hard-earned savings, and a song is a fun way to do that,” said Pamela McDonald, BCSC director of communications and education.

She said B.C.’s capital city was chosen “because of the prevalence of retirees and pre-retirees, two demographics that are especially vulnerable to fraud. The BCSC sees the devastating impact caused by investment fraud up close, and our Be Fraud Aware campaign is designed to raise awareness and empower the public to recognize, reject and report it.”

The strategy is one of a number of unusual approaches taken by the commission. In November the BCSC released survey results connecting personality types with individual investment behaviour. In a downtown Vancouver mall last March, the commission set up a TV screen in which an actor posing as a scam artist interacted with shoppers.

The BCSC has also provided a Fraudster Fighter Tool Kit, the Be Fraud Aware mobile app and a series of short videos portraying typical con jobs.

Canadian Securities Administrators offer complementary advice and will help mark Fraud Prevention Month with the annual Check Registration Day on March 16.

Visit the BCSC’s fraud awareness portal.

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