What are they?
Investment scams can come to you via phone, email, Facebook or other social media platforms and often use fake celebrity endorsements.
They may even be an offer from someone you trust or who is introduced to you by someone you know.
They are usually so professional, slick and believable that it can be hard to tell them apart from genuine investment opportunities.
To get you to give them your money, a fraudster may tell you they're offering:
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that will give you unrealistically high and quick returns.
- Investment expertise by remotely accessing your computer to use their ‘trading platform’.
What the fraudster is actually doing:
- Using a fake ‘trading platform’ and artificially manipulating their prices/your balance to represent gains initially, then eventually deducting all of your funds. So, you may never know you’ve been scammed!
- Directing your funds elsewhere from the start.
Signs of an investment scam
- Typical investments that raise red flags include real estate and property projects, share and stock promotions, cryptocurrencies and foreign currency trading.
- Be wary of offers to give you early access to your super fund, through a self-managed super fund or for a fee.
- Investment fraudsters will call or email you endlessly or keep you on a phone call for a long time.
- Be suspicious of anyone (including ads, websites or emails) offering you easy money.
- Be wary of anyone requesting remote access to your computer. It's likely to be a scam!
- Investment fraudsters will often pass your call along the line to other ‘team members’ to make it seem like a professional workplace.
- Fraudsters are likely operating from overseas and will not have a mandatory Australian Financial Services licence.
How to protect yourself?
- Do your own research on the company and take the time to seek independent professional or legal advice.
- Never let anyone remotely access your computer.
- Purchase cryptocurrencies directly through a trusted exchange. Comparison website Finder offer some good advice on how to buy Bitcoin safely.
- Never give your details to an unknown caller or reply to suspicious emails you weren’t expecting.
- Check ASIC's list of companies you should not deal with. If the company that called you is on the list, do not communicate with them.
- Talk to us! We're always working to prevent scams and protect your money, so we're happy to give our opinion on whether it’s safe before you commit. But remember, we can’t give you financial advice.
If you think you have been the victim of an investment scam, you should:
- Contact us immediately on (08) 8202 7777
- Report it to ASIC and the police via cyber.gov.au
- Stop sending money to the company! Be wary of secondary scams or offers to recover your money.
- Change your passwords and PINs straight away if you suspect your security has been compromised
- Contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160 or via idcare.org. IDCARE is a free, Government-funded service that provides support to victims of identity crime
- Visit the Scamwatch website for more information on scams.