Beat the scammers at their own game

All / 28.06.2018

Beat the scammers at their own game

We’ve all seen media reports about ordinary Australians losing their entire savings after responding to a phone, email or mail offer that was impossible to resist. While some people may be naïve, scammers are also getting smarter.

Financial stings have become a serious threat to Australian consumers and businesses. According to the ACCC’s Scamwatch website, there were 161,582 reports of scam in 2017, for a total loss of more than $90 million!

All shapes and sizes

Identity theft scams involve someone stealing another person’s identity and can do anything with it from cleaning out bank accounts to taking out fake mortgages. But scams can come in many guises, including, but not limited to:

  • Online account and money transfer scams;
  • Health and medical scams;
  • Superannuation scams;
  • Get-rich-quick scams;
  • Lottery and competition scams.

If it sounds too good to be true…

Let’s look at the most damaging of all – investment scams.

Scammers know and use all sorts of tricks to entice the vulnerable but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Scammers usually make contact “out of the blue” with a blanket offer and use tactics to pressure you into the deal. These “professionals” try to make their offer look as genuine as possible and most will have any or all of the following features:

  • Quick, high returns and sometimes tax-free;
  • No risk for the investor;
  • Mention well-known companies or people (that are actually not involved);
  • Discounts for “early-bird” investors or special allocations not available through anyone else.

Investment scams can appear very professional on the surface. By the time the victim realises the offer was too good to be true, the scammer has disappeared with their money.

What should you do?

If you receive a call or email always check the validity of the offer and provider, by asking:

  1. What is your name and what company do you represent?
  2. Does your company have an Australian Financial Services licence and what is the licence number?
  3. What is your physical address?

If the caller can’t or won’t provide these details, it will be a scam. If they do answer, take down the details and check the Australian Securities and Investment Commission list on its MoneySmart website (www.moneysmart.gov.au) or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ‘Scamwatch’ site (www.scamwatch.gov.au).

Be proactive

Some scams aren’t as obvious so always protect your personal information. Never give out bank details or transfer money to anyone you don’t know or trust.

Always check your statements and report any suspicious transactions to your financial institutions. Make sure your computer and mobile devices are protected with strong passwords, anti-virus software and firewalls.

And beat the scammers at their own game – if you are contacted by one of these fraudsters, immediately report it to the ACCC via www.scamwatch.gov.au or phone 1300 795 995. Hopefully the scammer will end up the victim instead.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers – please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances