24th Jul 2018
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Scammers pocket $4.3m a month, on track for a record
Author: Janelle Ward
Scammers pocket $4.3m a month, on track for a record

Australians are losing $4.3 million a month to scams, according to the latest statistics from Scamwatch, and people aged 45 to 64 are most at risk.

More than $26 million has been reported lost to investment scams this year – 84 per cent of the total losses in 2017 with five months to go.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) deputy chair Delia Rickard labelled the losses ‘horrific’ and said the accounts of people losing hundreds of thousands of dollars were ‘heartbreaking’.

“Last year, Australians reported they lost $64.6 million to investment scams to Scamwatch and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN). If the current trend continues, combined losses reported in 2018 could be in excess of $100 million.

“… the scammers are very convincing. People aged 45 to 64 are most at risk and make up more than half the reports sent to Scamwatch."

Ms Rickard said most investment scams were centred on traditional markets such as stocks, real estate and commodities. For example, scammers will cold call victims claiming to be a stock broker or investment portfolio manager and offer a ‘hot tip’ or inside information on a stock or asset. They will claim their offering is low-risk and will provide quick and high returns.

“Scammers will spend significant time and effort grooming their victims,” she said. “They will use the right technical language and also offer professional-looking websites and documents to convince victims they are legitimate. It’s often only when people try to cash out their investment that they realise their money is gone.”

Two other types of investments where scams were prevalent were cryptocurrency trading and binary options, with cryptocurrency scams now the second most common type of investment scam.

Ms Rickard explained that binary options trading involved scammers pretending they could predict the movements of a commodity or asset over a short time. “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.”

So what are the warning signs? The strongest, she said, was how the scammer contacts the victim and the promises that are made.

“It can be very difficult to tell what is and isn’t legitimate these days. If someone calls, emails or texts you out of the blue with investment advice, don’t engage with them no matter how legitimate they sound. Hang up the phone, or delete the email or text.

“If you’re searching for new investment opportunities online, don’t always trust what you read. It’s easy for scammers to create professional-looking investment websites,” Ms Rickard said.

“Any claims like 'risk-free investment', ‘low risk, high return’, 'be a millionaire in three years' or 'get rich quick' are also easy [signs] that you’re dealing with a scammer.”

She said prospective investors should visit the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) MoneySmart website for guidance and always check ASIC’s list of companies not to deal with.

Report investment scams to ASIC and Scamwatch.

Have you had any contact with a suspected scammer this year? Did the information sound too good to be true?

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    25th Jul 2018
    10:37am
    The only question is WHY, I repeat WHY, does our government not put an end to this? Not exactly real hard to do.
    Also, WHY does our government not make the countries whose crooked citizens are involved in scams headline news? What does India have to offer Australia anyway as we can get offshore Call Centres in many jurisdictions.
    TREBOR
    25th Jul 2018
    11:43am
    'governments' here have zero interest in protecting the interests of the landless peasantry - the Silenced Majority - anything and everything that will work to keep the peasants off balance and wondering where their next meal will come from is good for the ruling class.....
    HS
    25th Jul 2018
    11:59am
    Not a priority.
    No enough allocated resources.
    No co-operation from Telcos.
    Internet is the "Wild West" - John Wayne and other like him don't exist any longer-
    What else can one say but, " BUYER BEWARE!"
    Anonymous
    25th Jul 2018
    2:20pm
    It's unfair to blame this on government.
    Crooks will always find ways to steal from the gullible
    Jim
    25th Jul 2018
    3:51pm
    Here we go again, this government is to blame, get off your band wagon Mick or whatever your real identity is, internet scams are world wide, it doesn’t matter which country you are in, or more importantly which type of government is in charge, if anyone knows of a way to stop scams then they need to inform the rest of the world and if they can prove their system they will be worth a fortune. The only way to stop scams is to never answer your phone and never turn your internet on, never open any snail mail and never look at any flyers and probably a whole other things you can do. Also never listen to anyone pretending to be something they are not, they are probably scaremongering for their chosen political affiliations or employee.
    MD
    25th Jul 2018
    8:11pm
    Reckon olbaid & Jim are spot on the money for this one. Gubbermint at every level will never, repeat never, satisfy all the people all the time, but to blame them each and every time for each and every problem suggests a severely myopic take on human fallibility.

    Any fool so easily coaxed out of their savings must have made it easily in the first place: easy come easy go. What the hell motivates silly old fools to be dabbling in double or nothing schemes ?
    Answer - they BELIEVED, because they wanted to. LOSERS!
    Ted Wards
    26th Jul 2018
    12:11pm
    Just so you know Mick the government actually does quite a lot about this issue, such as offering free online lessons to learn how to avoid scams and stay safe, they invented the scam alert reporting system and where they can, follow up and investigate. They have also instigated a raft of laws in this area. The trouble is Mick you cant protect against ignorance and stupidity...... Its like if you could stop being a keyboard warrior and blaming the government and actually investigate what the government is actually doing rather than assuming they don't do anything. As long as there is humanity there will always be greed and corruption!
    Hasbeen
    25th Jul 2018
    12:09pm
    It seems to me that the easiest people are the greedy people, those who want more for less than other peopkle.

    I'm not sure what the government can do to cure people of greed.
    Rosret
    25th Jul 2018
    2:00pm
    Not so. Charities love old people - especially those with dementia.
    A lovely soft voice on the end of the phone asking for money and they just give. We should be able to block charities and politicians robo phoning too.
    Placido
    25th Jul 2018
    12:29pm
    Hasbeen first we have to cure THIS Government of greed before they will even think of the common good.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jul 2018
    3:20pm
    Better just to boot the bastards out of office.
    Jim
    25th Jul 2018
    4:05pm
    So knows a lot there were no scams under any other government, placido greed is indeed the route of most scams, the lesson if it sounds too good to be true then generally it isn’t true, this of course has nothing to do with the government or any other government in the world, but quite often it has something to do with individuals greed, the government can’t legislate against greed, of course not all people are caught through greed, some of these scammers are very clever, but again how can any government stop this?
    Rosret
    25th Jul 2018
    1:57pm
    I had a friend who had endless trouble with the NBN. After months a call came from Telstra indicating something was wrong with his line. At last he thought.
    But it wasn't. It was the Telstra scam and before he knew it he had lost thousands of dollars and needed to buy a new hard drive for his computer.
    So now he is down a lot of money, a huge amount of inconvenience replacing bankcards and passwords with no redress from anyone etc ..... the NBN still doesn't work at his house!
    It wasn't his age - he was pure and simply tricked.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jul 2018
    3:21pm
    Lesson: Ring Telstra to confirm the assertion.
    Eddy
    25th Jul 2018
    9:32pm
    I can sympathise with anyone 'fooled' by NBN criminals. I cannot count how many times I have received a phone call from the 'NBN' or 'Telstra" advising me that my landline and internet connection will be turned off within 24 hours unless I immediately transfer to the NBN and to press "1". I tell them to 'f--- off' and hang up (apologies to the ladies on this forum if my language offends).
    I have already had a letter from NBN advising me that the NBN will be available to my property between July 2019 and December 2019 and further advising my NBN service will be through my Foxtel cable.
    Rosret
    26th Jul 2018
    7:49am
    Knows-a-lot after months and months of phoning the Telcos for help would you hang up on someone who at last seemed as though they were there to help?
    Its easy to say in retrospect.
    Rae
    26th Jul 2018
    8:57am
    Telstra doesn't help anyone these days. So even ringing them over in Manila or wherever is a waste.
    The NBN doesn't work at a lot of houses.

    Knows a lot is right. Always ring back yourself and never ever give anyone access to your phone or computer unless you have engaged a techie yourself.
    KSS
    25th Jul 2018
    2:13pm
    In the days before the internet people were still scammed out of their money - non-existent timeshares, 'sell three bottles of this and watch the money roll in' pyramid selling schemes, resurface your driveway and fix the roof but pay me first doorstep scams etc etc etc.

    People have always been attracted to either paying less/nothing or getting something for nothing. Caveat emptor has its origins in medieval times. The phrase, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!" was first used in English in 16th century. This is not a new phenomenon. It just happens faster these days. Nothing to do with Government of any hue.

    I am quite sure after all, they too would like to meet with the Nigerian Prince or some other now deposed African, Eastern European, Russian, bloc country government officials to be able to boost their coffers with the ill-gotten gains amounting to $000000000000s
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jul 2018
    3:22pm
    Caveat emptor originated with the Romans.
    Jim
    25th Jul 2018
    3:55pm
    At last the voice of reason
    Rae
    26th Jul 2018
    9:03am
    We had a good one KSS.
    Very official representatives came around all the local farms telling us they could sell our yabbies and restock the dams to Asia. It sounded like a good long term deal. The contracts were well designed and fooled a solicitor or two.

    Signed contracts and paid $200 to each farmer. Times were tough and many were caught out. We kept the three best dams secret thank goodness because they stripped every dam for kms of yabbies which were sold to Asia but never saw them again. They must have made a lot of money.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jul 2018
    3:18pm
    If 'investors' weren't so greedy to make a buck, they would not be scammed. Fools and their money are soon parted.
    dreamer
    25th Jul 2018
    3:53pm
    Any thing I buy of the internet I go through PayPal I got scammed when my computer got hijack I think they call it so I rang the told it was Microsoft paid $250 through PayPal then 30 minutes later the same thing happened rang PayPal told them they investigated 4 days later got money back
    Magic Touch
    25th Jul 2018
    7:16pm
    Dreamer i had the same problem like you before, they put 500 dollars into your paypal account 2days latter they tranfer the 500 dollars out of you account. After that they ask paypal to paythen the 500 dollars from your account. Paypal ask you can i take the 500 dollars to pay back to the person., you said yes pay them back, so paypal take money out of your card you regested with paypal to payback that guy. So your 500dollars just gone like that. I had to go through the whole lot of trouber to explain to the paypal people every time i call up paypal to keep chaseing over and over again untail paypal give me back the money.
    Sò now I never use paypal.
    MD
    25th Jul 2018
    8:28pm
    Sure fire way to double your money, simply deposit to my account and you're in the chance to double the amount. Any amount wherever left is unlikely to grow by much but if you send it to me at least the chance of increase is possible. Come in spinner!
    Rosret
    26th Jul 2018
    7:53am
    The best way to check for online scammers is the URL in the address line.
    As for phone calls have caller ID and if the number looks odd or private don't trust them.
    Ted Wards
    26th Jul 2018
    12:07pm
    Its quite simple if someone contacts you without you approaching them first, 99% of the time its a scam even if it is wrapped up in a marketing pitch. If your a serious investor or selling etc you will approach people for information until you find a suitable deal.
    Hairy
    30th Jul 2018
    8:39am
    The goverment invented the scam , lies and deceit to get your bloody vote,and the deception and lies ,discrimination continues . My rule is don’t ever believe a word from anybody especially in goverment they are lower than used car salesmen in my book.
    kateohara1988
    7th Aug 2018
    7:17am
    Recently recovered my funds from a scam broker, i hired a professional it was quick and efficent. Glad to share my experience with others. Binaryoptionrecoveryspecialist (dot) (com)
    Xingy
    9th Sep 2018
    6:42pm
    I lost money to a binary option ad that came up on my computer while I was searching for investment oppurtunities in NSW. I was stringed along buy a broker who called me not long after looking at the ad. I was promised high yields on my invstment. I was lured to put all my life savings. Long story short, I lost it all.
    After about a year of depression a lady who had worked in the Binary options industry introduced me to a firm she said specializes in recovery of Binary options and all other type of investment scams.
    It might not be too late for someone out there. I was able to get $380,000 of my lost invesment.
    assetrefund(at)protonmail(dot)com


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