March is Fraud Prevention Month!
Do you know what it means to be an informed investor?
Mar 06, 2019
CALGARY, AB – March 6, 2019 – Kajillionaire, a new board game launched today by the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC), is immersing its players in the world of investment fraud and bringing attention to the scams commonly afflicting Albertans as part of Fraud Prevention Month. Players will put their life savings on the line, risking it all as they roll their way through a series of can’t-miss, low-risk investment opportunities to become a wildly rich “Kajillionaire.” Starting today, Kajillionaire is being promoted on the ASC’s investor education website, CheckFirst.ca.
“Each year, the ASC leads a campaign during Fraud Prevention Month to educate Albertans about how to protect themselves from investment scams,” said Alison Trollope, Director, Communications and Investor Education with the ASC. “While our financial literacy efforts are year-round, we always heighten our focus in March to drive home the risks surrounding investment fraud and easy ways to protect yourself in a unique and memorable way. Kajillionaire, the board game at the centre of this year’s campaign, uses the resurgent interest in board games to educate Albertans on how to recognize potentially fraudulent investments and make wise investment decisions.”
The incredible opportunities and can’t-miss investments presented throughout Kajillionaire tap into the psychological factors behind human decision-making, demonstrating to players why scams are so enticing and people fall victim to them. To make Kajillionaire as impactful as possible, and to ensure the psychology of decision-making was accurately reflected in the game, the ASC consulted with Dr. Derek Chapman, Professor of Psychology from the University of Calgary.
“My research at the University of Calgary examines various decision-making processes such as persuasion, personality and attitude formation,” said Dr. Chapman. “The psychological factors that play a role in fraud are very similar, impacting an individual’s decision-making process and playing a large role in whether or not they fall for a scam. Recognizing that fraud continues to be an issue in our province, I was eager to have the opportunity to use my research to help protect Albertans.”
Each player begins Kajillionaire with $184,000 in ‘life savings’ – the average amount Canadians say they have saved for retirement, according to a recent survey. On their quest to win the game, players will experience potential scams, such as affinity fraud, Ponzi schemes, pump-and-dump scams, fake celebrity endorsement scams and more, learning to recognize the red flags of fraud. Whoever finishes the game with the most money left technically wins the game, but no one really wins in the world of fraud because, in the end, a significant amount of each players’ life savings will be lost. The game has been developed to highlight the potential real-life devastation that fraud can have on its victims.
The total financial impact of securities fraud on Albertans is not fully known. According to the 2018 Alberta Investors Study conducted by the ASC, only 1 in 3 of Albertans who suspected fraud reported it to authorities. Of those Albertans who think they may have fallen for fraud, 1 in 4 report losing between $5,000 and $25,000. To draw attention to this, $25,000 was chosen as the price point for the game. While Kajillionaire is not for sale, its faux price point and the money players risk have made it ‘one of the world’s most expensive board games.’ Like fraud, Kajillionaire comes with a high price.
“Kajillionaire helps educate players on how important it is to ‘check first’ before investing,” continues Trollope. “Checking registration, researching the investment and looking for the red flags of fraud are the best ways to determine if an investment opportunity is real before handing over your hard-earned money.”
Kajillionaire can be played at select venues across the province, giving Albertans the opportunity to dive deep into the world of fraud and learn how to identify potential investment scams. The list of locations can be found on CheckFirst.ca.
Visit CheckFirst.ca to learn more about Kajillionaire and to access a wide range of free, unbiased tools and resources to help Albertans increase their financial literacy and make wise investment decisions.
The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province's securities laws. It is entrusted to foster a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and to protect investors. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.
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For further information please contact:
For Media Inquiries:
Curt Boechler Senior Communications Advisor 403-835-1263
For Investor Inquiries:
ASC Public Inquiries Toll Free: 1-877-355-4488