Be Aware of Evolving Scams

by | Mar 31, 2023 | Articles


Be Aware of Evolving Scams

Financial scams continue to be on the rise and the level of sophistication is growing.1 Phishing attacks, where deceptive messages fool victims into providing sensitive information, are increasingly using multiple channels concurrently to target victims, such as phone calls, voicemail, text or email. Scammers leave a voicemail or send a text about an email or call they just made, to add credibility or increase the urgency of the request.

One of the newer financial scams, “pig butchering,” involves scammers building longer-term relationships with victims online or via text, eventually convincing them to invest using websites that look like legitimate trading platforms. Victims are then tricked into thinking their investments are making money and are encouraged to invest more; a strategy called “fattening up the pig.” This scam was initially associated with cryptocurrencies, but has since evolved to focus on the gold market.

In brief, there are often common signs that may indicate a scam:

It seems too good to be true. This may be as unassuming as an unexpected money transfer sent to your email address. Or, it may be as sophisticated as an investment opportunity that offers significant returns. If it appears too good to be true, it likely is.

Personal/financial information is requested. Be wary when personal or financial information is requested or asked to be confirmed. A credible financial institution is unlikely to ask for this.

There is a sense of urgency. Many scams pressure individuals to act immediately or focus on lost opportunity or penalties to evoke fear.

There is secrecy or you are made to feel guilty. Some scams try to evoke feelings of guilt or shame; others prey on loneliness or isolation. In many cases, you may be asked to keep matters secret.

It goes without saying that we should all maintain a sense of vigilance when it comes to sharing our personal information. Not responding is often one of the best ways to stay safe. Don’t answer a call if you don’t recognize the caller; often a scammer’s goal is to find out if a phone line is active. Never respond to emails, text messages or social media requests from unknown sources. If you aren’t certain if the situation is credible, double check. An internet search can often determine if others have received similar messages/calls. Or, if a source claims to be a legitimate company, try calling a general number found on the internet.

There are also tools available that can add an additional layer of protection. Anti-phishing software and other cyber security tools can help protect against potential attacks. Many mobile phone companies now offer “call control” that can help to screen out robo-callers or other spammers.

Most important, stay updated by educating yourself and others who may be vulnerable about evolving scams and new targeting methods. Many online resources report the latest scams and offer ways to protect against fraud: Better Business Bureau,; Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre,

1. sophisticated.html; 2. gold-market-pig-butchering-scam-021523.html

Dave Cooper, CFP®, CIM®
Senior Investment Advisor Portfolio Manager
[email protected]

Tyler Cockbain, BA, CFP®, CIM®
Senior Investment Advisor Portfolio Manager
[email protected]


Justin Nekechuk, B. Ed
Associate Investment Advisor
[email protected]

 Tower Wealth Advisory
212, 1524 91 St. SW, Edmonton, Alberta T6X 1M5
780.484.5777 ext. 1 or 891
Email: [email protected]

The information contained herein has been provided for information purposes only. Graphs, charts and other numbers are used for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect future values or future performance of any investment. The information has been provided by J. Hirasawa & Associates and is drawn from sources believed to be reliable. The information does not provide financial, legal, tax or investment advice. Particular investment, tax, or trading strategies should be evaluated relative to each individual’s objectives and risk tolerance. This does not constitute a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell securities of any kind. Market conditions may change which may impact the information contained in this document. Wellington-Altus Private Wealth Inc. (WAPW) and the authors do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, nor does WAPW, nor the authors, assume any liability for any loss that may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions. Before acting on any of the above, please contact me for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances. WAPW is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.


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