(NC)-If it sounds too good to be true, it probably it is. Truer words were never spoken about a disturbing scheme that involves the sale of fraudulent Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), cooked up by fraud artists wanting to make a quick buck.
Under the scam, investors are being sold no-risk GICs with above-average interest rates and a faster than normal maturity date. The scheme may appear genuine, but it is intended to trick consumers into paying for investments that are not legitimate or don't even exist.
Fraudsters have gotten quite sophisticated in targeting people directly by e-mail or through special offers on websites or in community newspapers. The ads have the look and feel of legitimate loan and trust companies and promise rates of return that are higher than most financial institutions if the buyer acts quickly. When you call the phone number in the ad to discuss purchasing the GIC, you are asked to provide payment through a money order or money wiring service. In some cases, the individual may want you to provide payment by cash. In reality, it's all a scam - there is no GIC and there is no company, just a crook wanting to take advantage of people financially.
Here are some tips to protect yourself: