For Immediate Release        
April 26, 2017


Rise in foreign fraud prompts ban discussion at Commission

Winnipeg – Amid ongoing complaints from Manitobans losing money to Binary Options scams, The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC), along with other provincial securities regulators, is proposing a nationwide ban on selling Binary Options to Canadians.

This month, a Portage La Prairie man reported being defrauded of $130,000 to an offshore Binary Options firm, while a Southern Manitoba man has lost upwards of $300,000. These are just 2 of 17 reports MSC has received in the last four months.

In 2015, there were four complaints from Manitobans about various unregistered Binary Options firms. In 2016, that number rose to more than 58.

Jason Roy is senior investigator with MSC, and chair of the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) Binary Options Fraud Task Force. Roy has been at the forefront of Binary Options fraud in Canada since reports began trickling in four years ago.

“This continues to be the biggest investment scam targeting Manitobans,” says Roy, “We are getting reports on this nearly every week, and for every report we receive, we know there are more people out there who haven’t come forward because of fear or embarrassment. And perhaps even worse, there are more people out there in Manitoba—and across Canada—right now who don’t realize they’re being conned.”

Today, the CSA published National Instrument 91-102 Prohibition of Binary Options. If made law, it would mean the prohibition of advertising, offering, selling or otherwise trading of a Binary Option(s) to an individual.

While there are no registered firms or invividuals registered to carrout Binary Options trading in Manitoba or Canada, people continue to fall victim. The proposed ban will remove any ambiguity about the legality of Binary Options sales to Canadians; it will be illegal. Undertaking this ban will also provide a very clear message to perpetrators and organizations involved in Binary Options trading.

Binary Options are a sort of ‘wager’ where investors bet on the performance of an underlying asset, often a currency, stock index or share, usually in a short period of time—sometimes minutes or even seconds. When that period is up, the investor receives a predetermined payout or loses his wager. It’s an “all or nothing” proposition. With some of these offshore investments, no actual trading takes place and it is just a tactic used to steal an investor’s money.  A request to send your money offshore to an unregistered firm is a red flag for investment fraud.

“A lot of it begins with an ad on social media,” says Roy. “They promise you some ‘free’ money to get started, but it’s just a way to get their foot in the door, access your credit card information and get you hooked. Once they have your money, it’s extremely unlikely it can ever be recovered.”

In March, the CSA launched to better inform Canadians on the risks of Binary Options trading. Within five weeks, the site has seen more than 10,000 visits.

MSC advises all investors to follow these tips to prevent becoming a victim of investment fraud:

  • Never send money to anyone you only know from an unsolicited phone call or email
  • Never give out sensitive personal information online or over the phone
  • Research an investment before making a commitment
  • Make sure the firm and individual you are dealing with are registered in Manitoba by checking their registration status at 

Investors who believe they’ve been approached by an unregistered individual or firm are encouraged to contact MSC immediately at 1-855-FRAUD-MB to file a complaint or speak with an investigator.

The Manitoba Securities Commission is a division of the Manitoba Financial Services Agency, a Special Operating Agency of the Government of Manitoba that protects investors and promotes fair and efficient capital markets throughout the province.


Media Inquiries: Jason Booth, Communications Coordinator  |  204.945.1660  |