Financial advisers protect against scams, says ASIC
In response to new data on fraud, ASIC is urging consumers to protect themselves against investment scams with "simple checks", including seeking financial advice.
A new report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), titled Targeting scams: report of the ACCC on scam activity 2015, shows there were 105,200 scam complaints last year, with $85 million reported lost.
In 2014, the ACCC received 91,600 scam complaints, with almost $82 million reported lost.
"ASIC is alerting the public to the ways they can protect themselves from scams that are designed to steal their money," said ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell.
These tips include checking ASIC's MoneySmart website for a list of risky companies, asking whether the company has an AFSL or an AFCL and seeking a second opinion from a financial adviser.
"Only put your money with a managed fund or other investment that is licensed by ASIC, and speak to a licensed adviser if you want investment advice," Mr Kell said.
"To avoid being a victim of a scam, hang up the phone, do not respond to the email or stop dealing with the person. It's important not to let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments."
The ACCC's scam data shows there are variety of scams, including investment and 'get rich quick' scams, that are hitting Australians.
Typically, these scams will offer quick returns and tax-free benefits, big rewards for small upfront payments and magic software that claims to predict sporting results.
Of the scams reported to ASIC in 2015, the top types include overseas cold calling about investment opportunities, money transfer schemes and fake debt scams.
The scams reported to ASIC generally come from overseas.
"In many cases, the pitch to consumers is so professional, slick and believable that it is hard to tell these are not genuine financial opportunities," Mr Kell said.
"Scammers have sophisticated sales practices that include call scripts, false paperwork, fake websites and made-up referees."
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