Who wants to be a Kajillionaire?
That’s the premise behind the Alberta Securities Commission’s (ASC) new game, which aims to highlight the difficulties of investment scams as part of Fraud Prevention Month.
"While our financial literacy efforts are year-round, we always heighten our focus in March to drive home the risks surrounding investment fraud and easy ways to protect yourself in a unique and memorable way,” Alison Trollope, director of communications and investor education at the ASC, said in a release Wednesday.
“Kajillionaire, the board game at the centre of this year's campaign, uses the resurgent interest in board games to educate Albertans on how to recognize potentially fraudulent investments and make wise investment decisions."
The game shows the reality of investment scams and aims to prove to Albertans just how easy it is to fall victim to fraud.
Players begin with $184,000 in “life savings,” which, according to a recent poll by CIBC, is how much the average Canadian says they have saved for retirement. Players are faced with potential cases of fraud and have to distinguish whether the opportunity is a scam or not, enforcing the need for individuals to identify the red flags of fraud in a memorable way.
Options such as “unique opportunity: Doesn’t happen every day,” and “free lunch,” line the board in checkers-like tiles.
The winner of Kajillionaire is the individual who has the most amount of money left at the end of the game.
“No one really wins in the world of fraud because, in the end, a significant amount of each players' life savings will be lost,” the ASC said in a release.
Kajillionaire uses $25,000 as the game’s price point to emphasis the seriousness of investment fraud.
While the full financial impact of fraud in Alberta is unknown, only one in three Albertans who suspected fraud reported the incident and of those, 25 per cent reported losing between $5,000 and $25,000, according to a 2018 study conducted by the ASC.
"Kajillionaire helps educate players on how important it is to 'check first' before investing," Trollope said.
"Checking registration, researching the investment and looking for the red flags of fraud are the best ways to determine if an investment opportunity is real before handing over your hard-earned money."
The game is available to play at select locations in Alberta.