avoiding scams

National Consumer Fraud Week – Wise up to Scams

Scamwatch is urging older Australians to ‘Wise up to Scams’ during this year’s National Consumer Fraud Week, which runs from 16-22 May 2016.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has produced a Targeting Scams Report which found that investment scams and dating and romance scams resulted in the largest financial losses for over 55s in 2015.

These scams pose a significant risk for Australians looking for investment opportunities, especially those looking to grow their retirement funds.

Investment scams include business ventures, superannuation schemes, managed funds and the sale or purchase of shares or property. Scammers dress up ‘opportunities’ with professional looking brochures and websites to mask their fraudulent operations and trick unsuspecting Australians.

Dating and romance scams take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media. Scammers spend months and even years establishing a relationship with their victims before making up a reason they need to ‘borrow’ money, such as medical emergencies or travel expenses.

Top tips for avoiding these scams

Dating & romance scams:

  • Run a Google Image search to check the authenticity of any photos provided – scammers often use fake photos they’ve found online
  • Don’t send money or your personal details to someone you meet online – no matter how convincing their story is
  • Never share intimate photos of videos with someone you meet online – they could later use it to blackmail you

Investment scams:

  • Don’t let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments
  • Only invest your money with a managed fund or other investment that is licensed by ASIC and check ASIC’s MoneySmart website.
  • Do not send you money overseas for an investment offer that has come out of the blue – no matter how attractive or professional it appears.

If you believe you have been scammed, please contact your financial institution immediately.

Scamwatch 2016 infographic