Investment scams target individuals by offering seemingly risk-free investments with large and guaranteed returns. These scams can be more difficult to spot than others but are often far more damaging if scammers are successful – costing Australians $177 million last year alone. *
Investment scams come in many forms but will often begin with an unsolicited call, email, or message about an investment opportunity. Common examples include cryptocurrency investments, Ponzi schemes or international investments.
Let’s take a closer look at cryptocurrency scams, which are gaining traction as consumers struggle to tell the difference between legitimate opportunities and attempts from scammers.
Cryptocurrencies are a digital currency, and though widely adopted across the world consumers have less protections here in Australia as cryptocurrencies are not recognised as legitimate money.
Scammers in this space will encourage you to invest in a particular currency, either directing you to buy it through an online exchange platform or asking you to send them funds to make the purchase for you.
From here, scammers will claim to be trading in the cryptocurrency on your behalf. Often, they will share false statistics on how your investment is performing. When you ask to make withdrawals, scammers provide ongoing excuses or simply disappear.
Whilst these opportunities may seem legitimate, contact from investment scammers will generally be unsolicited and use high-pressure tactics to get you to hand over funds.
Before investing any money it’s important to conduct due diligence. Never commit to an investment on the spot and be sure to do your own research before moving forward. A great rule of thumb is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Did you know? You can check the ASIC website to see if a person or business is registered to provide financial advice and view a list of illegitimate companies you should not deal with.
Reporting a Scam
If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, please contact us as soon as possible. You can also report it on scamwatch.gov.au so that others can be warned of current scams.
*Statistics sourced from scamwatch.gov.au as of 15 February 2022