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FOMO-obsessed people risk fraud via social media investment tips: BCSC

Don't get pressured into making an investment

Social media is not the place to get your investment tips.

That’s the message from the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), which is detailing new research that shows younger adults and those who experience the fear of missing out – also known as FOMO - are more likely to think social media is a good place to find investment opportunities.

To mark Fraud Prevention Month, the BCSC said it surveyed more than 2,000 Canadians, including 1,000 British Columbians, to measure how age and FOMO influence investment attitudes.

“Results of this new research are particularly concerning because we’ve seen a surge in potentially fraudulent schemes peddled on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Doug Muir, the BCSC’s director of enforcement, in a news release. “We also know that fraudsters put pressure on people to act quickly. It’s important to gather as much reliable information about an investment as you can before putting your money into it, and to not rush into it.”

One warning sign of investment fraud is claiming that an opportunity is exclusive or available only to select people, said the BCSC, while in reality, most legitimate investments for ordinary British Columbians are available to anyone with the money to invest. Another warning sign is rushing would-be investors, telling them they must sign now to get in on the deal.

To educate people about the risk of letting FOMO drive their investment decisions, the BCSC is running a multi-media campaign called Hi, My Name is FOMO. 

“The younger you are, the more FOMO you have,” said the news release. “Half of B.C. residents between 18 and 34 said they experience it, compared to just 19 per cent of adults 55 or older. B.C.’s young adults also seem to have more FOMO than their peers across Canada – 50 per cent in B.C. compared to 40 per cent nationally.”
This online survey was conducted for the BCSC by Innovative Research Group among a representative sample of British Columbians from February 11 to 23, 2021 as part of an omnibus survey. A total of 1,015 British Columbians aged 18 and over completed the survey. The results are weighted to a representative sample of 1,000 by age and gender within each region of the province using the latest available Census data to reflect the actual demographic composition of the population.