Beware of high-risk, no-reward investment scams: ACCC

Australians have reported losing over $13 million to investment scams.

ACCC warns of investment scams

Australians have reported losing over $13 million to investment scams in the first half of this year, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), with people aged 45 to 64 the most common victims.

Investment scams are the most lucrative for scammers, according to the ACCC, and the organisation’s deputy chair Della Rickard believes that many may be going unreported.

The ACCC is warning the community to watch out for investment scammers who promise the world but leave their victims with broken dreams and empty bank accounts.

Men are almost twice as likely to be targeted by investment scams and lose significantly more money than women.

“These scams typically start with a phone call out of the blue. The scammers are sophisticated, convincing and persistent, which is why we sadly see people lose large amounts of money to them. They are also delivered through unsolicited emails, online forums and social media,” Ms Rickard said.

“Scammers use high pressure tactics to sell you a financial opportunity that is ‘not to be missed’, involves high and quick returns for low risks, and needs to be acted on quickly or you will miss out.

“Whatever your motive is for the investments you make, do your research and never invest money with someone who has contacted you out of the blue, no matter who they say they are, how much money they promise you or the urgency with which they’re trying to make you act. They seem too good to be true because they are,” Ms Rickard said.

The common investment scams to watch out for according to the ACCC are:

  • Unsolicited phone calls and emails offering investment opportunities with high returns. They can involve multiple calls, with multiple people who speak in investment jargon and provide you with access to professional looking websites and documents. Your initial investment may seem to show promising results quickly but soon your money and the scammer disappear and you have lost everything.
  • Unsolicited calls from scammers offering to roll your superannuation funds into a self-managed fund that will help you reduce your tax and provide great investment opportunities. In reality, they are just stealing your superannuation funds.
  • Binary options trading that involve predicting the movements of commodity, asset or index prices over a short time. If you agree, they direct you to a website with a login, account details and a trading platform. They appear to put your money into the account and demonstrate a number of successful trades to encourage you to invest greater sums. Then your money begins to disappear and so too does the scammer.

The best ways to stay protected from scammers, according to the ACCC is to always conduct a thorough investigation before making any investment and hang up or hit delete on all cold calls and emails offering unsolicited advice on investing.

Further information is available at



    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Jul 2017
    Good thing with your smart phone is that it shows on the screen when it is a scammer or market research call or fraudster and tthen you can hit BLOCK OR/AND REPORT!
    Even after putting your name on the National Register to prevent these calls, some do appear to filter through.
    However, when a seemingly innocent stranger calls, DO NOT HESITATE TO SAY NO AND HANG UP NOR TO PISS THEM OFF!
    After all, you have NOTHING TO LOSE at that point!
    Women are the worst in being unable to say no, being their own greatest enemy in achieving higher pay or in bargaining for a lower price in purchases.
    I once checked with Vodaphone to check their recordsto see if any of their staff had called me and the answer was no after an Indian guy called saying he was from them and immediately asked for my pin number under some excuse of checking my account for some reason.
    20th Jul 2017
    20th Jul 2017
    Mez - your last comment is new to me as I have not been concerned until switching to the NBN. How can the attach Malware to a phone number?
    Old Geezer
    20th Jul 2017
    How do you block a private number on a mobile phone? I recently activated a SIM card on the NextG network and Telstra's debt recovery rang every hour with a message for someone who had that number years ago.
    22nd May 2019
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    Based on several real trader reviews on multiple forums the modus operandi of this broker is to manipulate people into depositing very large sums of money above $5,000+ claiming that they will then reveal some magic winning secrets. Once the money is deposited, no one will reply to your emails anymore or answer your phone calls. Your money will be gone.
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    20th Jul 2017
    I'd like a $100 for every phone call I've had purportedly from the Tax Dept saying I owe money. I enjoy stringing them along a bit tehe
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    20th Jul 2017
    I'd like a $100 for every phone call I've had purportedly from the Tax Dept saying I owe money. I enjoy stringing them along a bit tehe
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    20th Jul 2017
    I can't put an image up here however there is currently an Origin Electricity bill for $460 being sent as an email. When the receiver clicks view here it links to malware. - So New South Welsh people - beware and check the URL (address after the http at the top of the screen).
    20th Jul 2017
    I get those fake Origin emails all the time! But since I don't have an account with Origin it's dead easy to pick them as scams. A bit harder when you actually do have an account with Origin. I have reported them as phishing scams to Origin, but they didn't even bother to reply to me.

    Mez - I do not believe leaving a phone number in your list of calls can possibly insert malware on your phone. That is nonsense and unreasonably likely to scare people. I'm not talking through my hat, I have a Master's degree in internet communication ... the only way malware is going to get on your phone is if you are silly enough to use it to click a link sent to you in an email ... it's exactly the same as when you use your computer for email, just DO NOT click that link lol. Also, you can usually see where the link goes if you hover the cursor over it - anything that has .php or .xlsm [the "m" stands for "macro"] or of course, .exe is a big no no.
    Knight Templar
    20th Jul 2017
    You may also receive unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from Windows tech support or Microsoft tech support. They ask you to turn on your computer to allegedly fix a malware problem. Do not comply. This is a Ransomware scam. They will threaten to block your computer if you don't pay up. Hang up immediately.
    20th Jul 2017
    Exactly, Knight Templar! How dumb do they think we are to try to convince us that Microsoft or "Windows" monitors all our computers and receives lots of reports of "errors"? This is an old scam that has been resurrected a lot lately - I've had at least a dozen of these lately, usually on my landline, and occasionally I've been tempted to play with them and tease them a little, but now there are so many that I'm just bored with the game so I yell rudely at them and hang up. Sometimes they hang up themselves while I'm still busy yelling at them :) ... other common ones are the calls from the "Accident Centre", the good old ATO, and I even had one supposedly from ANZ Bank - I don't even have an account with them lol.
    Old Geezer
    20th Jul 2017
    One can only wonder what motivates people to get caught in these schemes. Haven't they heard the saying that if it's too good to be true then it is or the opportunity of a lifetime comes around at least 3 times a week?

    20th Jul 2017
    We have call ID and every time we get a call from an unwanted source (scams or dodgy sales) we save the number and show the name as "Do Not Answer". This has a twofold effect, firstly we don't get bothered any more and, secondly, since we started doing this the number of unwanted calls has reduced.
    20th Jul 2017
    And NEVER answer calls from blocked numbers. Treat them as anonymous mail
    21st Jul 2017
    That can be a problem if you have relatives who have a silent number. Also my Doctor's number doesn't appear because of them having extensions of unlisted numbers.
    21st Jul 2017
    If I don't know the number or it is private I ignore it and let them leave a message now.
    21st Jul 2017
    There's another scam I've received a couple of times... it's a phonecall purporting to be from Centrelink, but is a computerised recording. It asks if you receive any benefit through Centrelink (Press 1 for yes and 2 for no). It promptly ignores your response and then tells you that you've ignored all the phone calls and letters they've sent you and you owe them money and they're going to stop paying out any more benefits. Complete and utter BS of course
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    Tags: scams, accc, investment,

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