Retirement Frauds

Common scams pitched to seniors

Oil and gas telephone scam

Table: SharePoint
Table: SharePoint

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RRSP fraud or RRSP borrowing schemes

An ad proclaims that you can withdraw money from your RRSP without paying taxes. It proposes that you use the money in your RRSP to purchase shares of an "RRSP–eligible company" and claims that a $20,000 investment could earn you $10,000 in cash. However, you probably won't receive the $10,000 promised, because shortly after the transaction, the company will likely close its doors, and the shares you will have bought will be worthless! You may also receive a letter requesting payment of taxes on the amounts withdrawn from your RRSP. Contrary to what you were told, the company in which you invested was not RRSP–eligible.

Exempt securities scam

Exempt securities are sold by companies that are allowed to sell them without filing a prospectus, and they're not illegal. The scam usually starts when you get an unsolicited pitch to invest in a promising business that is about to offer shares to the public. You may be told that this investment is only available to very wealthy people, but an exception can be made for you—all you have to do is sign some paperwork. This paperwork usually involves lying about how much money you make. Exempt securities are risky, and you could lose all of your investment. If you have to lie to be able to invest, you're taking part in an illegal transaction and you're likely getting scammed.

Offshore investment

In this type of scam, the fraudster promises you a high return from an investment in an offshore market. They often tell you the investment is a great way to avoid taxes. But once your money is sent to another country and is in someone else's control, you may not be able to get it back. The promised high return comes with a high risk that you'll lose your entire investment. If the promised tax savings are a scam, you could also end up owing the government money in back taxes, interest and penalties.