With the rise of investment advice online, so too comes an increase in investment scams. This type of scam involves someone contacting you unexpectedly either by phone, email or social media to offer you financial advice and a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to invest.
How does it work?
Cold call – A scammer claiming to be a Stock Broker or Portfolio Manager calls you out of the blue to offer financial or investment advice. They might sound very convincing and create a sense of urgency to try and get you to make a quick decision.
Social media – Scammers may use social media to message you, advertise or send ‘friend’ requests, often posing as someone you know or are connected to. If you follow them or accept their friend request, they might send you offers to invest and make quick money.
Advertisements – Investment fraud scammers often appear as ‘pop ups’ on the internet that look like a legitimate website, some of which are endorsed by public figures. They might issue fake online press releases for outstanding corporate performance, and often have the ability to provide logins so you can view fake investment balances and offers of high return with little or no risk.
- The scammer sounds legitimate and knowledgeable, providing all the facts and figures on an investment that seems too good to miss.
- The investment offer doesn’t have an Australia Financial Services (AFS) license or the scammer claims they don’t need one.
- You see an advertisement via digital channels promising a quick and easy way to make money that promotes a ‘risk-free investment’.
- The investment offer includes quick and high returns or tax free benefits.
- The investment offer features shares or virtual currency investments promising ‘high return’ schemes.
- The investment offer comes with inside information for early bird investors.
- The scammer sends you instructions on how to open a cryptocurrency account.
Things to remember
- Don’t let anyone pressure you when making investment decisions.
- Always seek independent legal or financial advice.
- Do your own research and check if the company is registered with ASIC.
- Check ASIC’s list of companies you shouldn’t deal with.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
- If you have made a payment to a scammer, or think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. They may be able to stop the payment for you.
- Report your experience to cyber.gov.au. This helps us and other government agencies warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible.