Police say they have been informed about a number of incidents where victims, believing they are dealing with legitimate organizations about investments, are having their savings stolen by scammers.

The Alberta RCMP’s integrated market enforcement team (IMET) is sounding the alarm over a scheme known as “brand hijacking” or “clone firms”, where fraudulent organizations assume the identities of credible financial institutions.

In order for the scheme to work, police say the criminals rely on their victims’ curiosity about investment plans and turn to online searches for help.

“Victims search specific investment products via the web and, subsequently, their top search engine results include a number of advertisements linked to fake websites where they are prompted to provide their contact information,” RCMP said in release.

Once they’ve recorded that personal information, the scammers move ahead, contacting their victims and posing as representatives of the financial institution, often using the names of actual investment professionals in an attempt to make the act more convincing.

As a result, victims are losing their savings, unwittingly handing it over to scammers through wire transfers and bank drafts.

RCMP say they are engaged with several other agencies in an attempt to stop these criminals.

“We are working closely with the Alberta Securities Commission and other Canadian securities regulators, the Forensic…

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