How to identify an investment scam
Investment scams can come to you via a phone call or email. It may even be an offer from someone you trust. There are three main types of investment scams:
- The investment offer is totally fictitious and does not exist
- The investment offer exists but the money you give the scammer is not going towards that investment
- The scammer says they are representing a well-known investment company but they are lying
Example of a fake investment offer
Organised crime groups are targeting the retirement savings of middle aged and older Australians with sophisticated fraud operations. Criminals claiming to be investment brokers initially make contact with victims by phone. They build a rapport through regular contact over the phone and by email, and create a perception of legitimacy through:
- Professional looking websites
- Personal accounts for victims with login access
- Regular reports of strong return on investment
- Media releases; and in some cases
- Professional looking documents delivered via courier.
For more examples visit www.moneysmart.gov.au/scams
Who is being targeted?
Anyone with savings to invest is at risk, but victims are usually Australian males aged over 50 who have invested previously. The fraudsters typically source their contact details from publicly available investor registries or purchase details from survey and seminar participation.
How can you protect yourself?
- Always seek independent financial advice before making an investment.
- Alert family and friends to this fraud, especially anyone who may have savings to invest.
- Report suspected fraud to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, via www.moneysmart.gov.au or 1300 300 630, or your local police. Any information that can be provided such as company name, location and contact details will assist with subsequent investigations and enquiries.
- Hang up on unsolicited telephone calls offering overseas investments.
- Check any company you are discussing investments with has a valid Australian Financial Services Licence at www.moneysmart.gov.au
- Visit www.moneysmart.gov.au or call 1300 300 630 for further information.