Complaints & Guidance

April 4, 2016

Elderly Widow most recent victim in binary options investment scam

Winnipeg - The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) is once again cautioning investors about investing in binary options. Manitoba’s most recent victim, an 81 year old widow, invested in purportedly located in the country of Moldova. She invested by wiring money to a bank account in the name of Option Ventures in Moldova to be settled at a bank in Romania. Investors should be aware that and Option Ventures are not registered to sell securities in Manitoba and that their actions are not in compliance with provincial securities laws.

 “The victim, invested $28,000, all the savings that she had,” said Len Terlinski, Investigator with the Commission. “She became aware that it was a scam when the adviser told her that he was being fired by because he could not get any more money out of her,” said Terlinski. Terlinski emphasized that “There are currently no Binary Option firms registered to do business in Manitoba.”

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. 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 wire or use your credit card to send your money offshore to an unregistered firm is a red flag for investment fraud.

The MSC advises all investors to keep the following tips in mind 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
  • If you have been a victim of fraud in the past it is possible that you may be targeted by other fraudulent companies

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

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Media Inquiries:
Ainsley Cunningham
Manager, Education and Communications