March is anti-fraud month and coincidentally, there is a new scam emerging that Albertans should be aware of.

The Alberta RCMP is warning the public of a new Ponzi scheme.

Corporal Troy Savinkoff says,“The best way to avoid being the victim of a scam or fraud is to be educated. But within that confine, our Integrated Market Enforcement Team which we call (IMET)* is also warning the public of a new Ponzi scheme that is just starting to come and it has already taken Albertans for about 148 thousand dollars combined.

Savinkoff says, “This particular Ponzi scheme, is apparently being advertised in different ways online. It calls itself Aweunion or Awebuy and it encourages individuals to download their app and buy items that are unpopular on Amazon or other sites which will modify the algorithm to make those same items sell faster. That’s what it’s saying it does.” In reality, people are investing money to be used by the app to purchase the products with the belief they will receive a commission from their investments which is simply not the case. Victims will see little or no return on their investment and when they try to contact the Aweunion administrators they are unreachable.

“We are asking the public to be vigilant in their investments, says Savinkoff, especially when they are making investments via apps and online platforms that promote significant profits or returns on their finances.” The old saying goes if it is too good to be true it probably is. Savinkoff encourages people to, “Do a little bit of research and put it out there and see if anybody is being scammed or has any issues. Be aware that sometimes reviews can be modified or faked by these individuals too so just make sure you run your google checks and do research before you invest money in things like this.”

RCMP encourages the public to verify charities and businesses on the Better Business Bureau website.

Savinkoff says the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is another valuable resource and citizens can report suspicious incidents to them. “If you think you’ve seen a scam that maybe you haven’t been a victim of but you want to make authorities aware of scams as they are trending the CAFC is a very good resource to let them know.” You can call 1-888-495-8501.

If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, contact your local law enforcement detachment and the CAFC.

* IMET is a specialized unit under the RCMP Federal Policing program that detects, investigates, and deters market fraud. IMET works closely with the Alberta Securities Commission to protect investors and further enhance confidence in Canada’s capital markets.