March 15, 2021

Local Experts Offer Advice to Protect Your Family from Fraud

Winnipeg – The Manitoba Financial Services Agency (MFSA) and the Winnipeg Police Service’s Financial Crime Unit are partnering once again for Fraud Prevention Month, making time to talk with Manitobans about scammers, swindlers, and con artists.

With social distancing in mind, this year’s fraud awareness work is going online.

Protect Your Family from Fraud” is a Facebook Live event launching Thursday, March 18, at 12 p.m. The free event, hosted by MoneySmart Manitoba (an MFSA initiative), will focus on tips and strategies for fraud recognition and prevention.

MFSA senior investigator Jason Roy together with WPS Detective Mike Streilein will deliver a special presentation on financial fraud in all its forms, including the very latest information on current scams operating in Canada, COVID-related fraud, and cryptocurrency fraud.

Questions for the experts are welcome and encouraged, before, during, and after on the event’s Facebook page.

“Of course our preference is to get out into the community and talk with people face to face,” says Roy, “But fraud certainly doesn’t take a break for COVID – on the contrary, we’ve seen a huge increase in all forms of fraud across Canada throughout the pandemic. Facebook Live provides a good alternative platform—we can still get the message out and connect with people, address their questions directly, and hear their experiences.”

Although fraud is likely as old (or older) than money itself, it continues to evolve and adapt to new circumstances and new technologies. The increasing public awareness of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin has opened up new avenues for fraudsters, many of whom are operating outside of Canada and outside the reach of law enforcement.

Offshore investment scams are a big problem,” says Roy. “Sometimes it is Binary Options, forex, or crypto trading—the face of the scam changes, but the red flags are all very similar. They may claim they’re operating in Toronto or New York, but in reality they are working from a boiler-room in a country with very lax securities laws, where officials are typically very uncooperative. Once you’ve sent your money to another country and it’s in someone else’s control, you will probably never see it again.”

“We always tell people to check the registration of the person or company they’re dealing with before any transaction, at”

Extortion scams are the most common frauds reported to Winnipeg Police.

“It starts with an unsolicited phone call, text, or email,” says Detective Mike Streilein. “The fraudster will use coercion—threats or scare tactics—to obtain money or personal information. One of the most common is the ‘CRA’ scam, where a fraudster calls claiming you owe back taxes or must pay a fine to the Canada Revenue Agency. They will always demand payment via cash/wire transfer, prepaid gift cards, or cryptocurrency.”

“Manitobans lost an estimated $1.9 million to extortion scams in 2020. It’s one of the most common, and unfortunately successful, scams going right now.”

Protect Your Family from Fraud’ takes place on Thursday, March 18 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. live on the MoneySmart Manitoba Facebook page.

The Manitoba Financial Services Agency is a Special Operating Agency of the Government of Manitoba. Through its two divisions, The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) and Financial Institutions Regulation Branch (FIRB), the MFSA regulates securities, real estate, cooperatives, credit unions, and insurance in the province.

The Winnipeg Police Service’s mission is to build safe and healthy communities across Winnipeg through excellence in law enforcement and leadership in crime prevention through social development.



Media Inquiries:                      
Jason Booth, Communications Coordinator, MFSA  |  204.945.1660 |