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NS Securities Commission warns against COVID-19 investment scam

The Nova Scotia Securities Commission is warning the public about a new phone scam tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nova Scotia Securities Commission is warning the public about a new phone scam tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

The Nova Scotia Securities Commission is encouraging the public to be vigilant as a new phone scam tied to the novel coronavirus has arisen in the province.

On Monday, the NSSC said it was contacted by an investor who received a call from someone falsely claiming to represent National Bank.

The caller told the investor their investment plan was collapsing and he or she must immediately put money into their account in order to save it.

READ MORE: Four more presumptive cases of coronavirus identified in New Brunswick

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“Whenever a situation like this happens or something new comes up in the investment market … investment scammers basically try and use the same scams with a new hook to latch onto,” spokesperson David Harrison told Global News.

In this case, he explained that “hook” is COVID-19, which has thrust the global stock market into turmoil as it reached “pandemic status” last week.

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READ MORE: Two new presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, bringing total to five

“The caller was using fear around the current economic conditions to attempt to steal the investor’s money,” reads a statement from the NSSC.

“If you are contacted by anyone with warnings about your investments or finances, never give out any information and contact your adviser, bank, or investment firm to ensure the caller is legitimate,” said Stephanie Atkinson, acting director of enforcement at the NSSC, in the statement.

The commission is encouraging members of the public who believe they’ve been contacted by someone taking part in investment fraud or fraudulent activities to email NSSCEnforcement@novascotia.ca. or contact the commision through its website.

As of March 16, there are five presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.