CALGARY -- In an effort to limit growing trends of investment fraud, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has issued a guidebook to help educate investors and protect them from fraud.

Dubbed the “Fraudster’s Playbook,” the resource presents tactics used by scam artists to gain the trust of investors and ultimately steal their money.

“Fraudsters or scam artists really like prey upon people when their most vulnerable,” said Hilary McMeekin, director of communications and investor education with the ASC.

“Right now, during the pandemic, many of us are very vulnerable, with fraudsters and scam artists being very plentiful.”

In addition to a wide array of tools and educational resources made available by the ASC, the Fraudster’s Playbook outlines the seven steps scam artists take to implement the fraud and deceive their victims. These steps include:

  1. Identify potential victim(s) for the scam
  2. Befriend and earn trust
  3. Drop hints or showcase the benefit of an “investment” opportunity
  4. Offer the investment opportunity
  5. Receive money for the investment
  6. Disappear (the Ghosting Act)
  7. Target the victim again (the Recovery Act)

The playbook was the result of ASC research depicting a high amount of risk for Albertans involved in investing.

“Our studies have shown people are confident about investing, but there’s a lack of knowledge about the red flags of fraud,” said McMeekin. “We know one in four Albertans have been approached by a fraudulent investment opportunity, but only one in three have reported it.”

The ASC hopes greater knowledge and education will not only protect investors from fraud, but also be more aware about reporting it to the proper authorities when it occurs.

The Fraudster’s Playbook is currently available online at, and the ASC has plans to release a printed version of the playbook when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.