Alert: Australians losing money to investment scams
There are reports of Australians losing millions of dollars through fake investment products sold by scammers. These scammers also convince Australians to hand over personal information for identity theft.
How the scam works
The scam lures you to their fake website, by getting you to click on ads in Facebook and other social media platforms. The ads work to convince you that they are respected individuals in the community or from popular media programs.
Visitors to the website are asked to setup an overseas online account. When established, a modest initial investment is requested from the account holder – for example, USD $250. The account holder will then receive phone calls from ‘professionals’, convincing them to keep investing more money.
Account-holders are able to log into the account to watch their fake ‘investment’ grow. in reality, there is no investment and the money is instead going into the scammer’s account.
Victims has reported losing tens of thousands of dollars, with several losing hundreds or thousands to the scammers. The duration of this scam is sometimes only a week from creating the account to having their money stolen.
The scam typically also involves requesting:
- Personal information from the account-holder including passports, drivers’ licence, banking details and email addresses.
- Access the account-holder’s home computer remotely, for example to set up a digital waller.
Through remote access to the computer, the scammer can get more personal information for ongoing identity theft.
The scammers can become aggressive when the target doesn’t agree to perform their requests.
How do you stay safe?
- If you are looking to invest money, do your research first. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has advice on how to keep your investments safe and warning signs to look out for when investing – https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing – as well as a page on companies you should not deal with.
- Do not share your personal, banking or credit card information with people you dont know or trust, and NEVER give them access to your computer – no matter how legitimate they sound or claim to be.
- Always get independent financial advice before taking action, and talk to trusted family or friends to get a second opinion.
- Do not hand over any personal details to an investment company unless you have independently verified legitimacy of the caller.
If you have any queries regarding scams please contact our office for more information.
The Money Edge | Bundaberg