Close up of a woman using a laptop

Online investment fraud is on the rise, the Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) says.

The regulator issued a warning to investors about a “sharp increase” in the prevalence of fraudulent online investment schemes.

“Online investment fraud has proliferated enormously over the past two years,” said Jason Roy, senior investigator at the commission, in a release.

“We’re seeing people approached from every direction,” he said. “Once scammers get their hooks in, they are very good at what they do — separating you from your money.”

The MSC issued warnings about 12 websites it said were soliciting investors by a variety of means, including text, social media and apps such as WhatsApp.

The sites in question tout unregistered offshore crypto trading, foreign exchange, binary options and contracts for difference, it noted.

The MSC recently launched a campaign to reveal the tactics used by scammers to defraud investors.

“The campaign exposes real investment scammers at work, caught on tape,” said Ainsley Cunningham, manager, education and communications, at the MSC. “It shines a light on what is too often a hidden crime.”

“Anyone can listen to one of these real calls, and hear exactly how these scams sound and the techniques they use.”