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Consumer warning. Watch out for investment scams.

Cold calls

Cold-call investment scams are becoming increasingly common. The scenario typically includes some or all of the below points:

  • A person claiming to be a broker or portfolio manager calls out of the blue and offers financial or investments advice.
  • They will claim what they are offering is low-risk and will present quick and high returns.
  • They may encourage investment in overseas companies.
  • The scammer's offer will sound legitimate and they may have resources to back up their claims. 
  • They will be persistent, often calling a number of times.
  • The caller may claim that they do not need an Australian Financial Services license, or that that they are approved by a real government regulator or affiliated with a genuine company.
  • The investments offered in these type of cold calls are usually share, mortgage, or real estate high-return schemes, options trading or foreign currency trading.

Warning signs

  • You receive a call, or repeated calls, from someone offering unsolicited advice on investments.
  • They try to keep you on the phone for a long time, or try and transfer you to a more senior person.
  • You are told that you need to act quickly and invest or you will miss out.
  • You receive an email from a stranger offering advice on the share price of a particular company.
  • The offer may not be addressed to you personally, and may even give the impression it was sent to you by mistake.

Protect yourself

  • Be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk.
  • Do not give details to an unsolicited caller or reply to emails offering financial advice or investment opportunities - just hang up or delete the email.
  • Check if a financial advisor is registered via the ASIC website. Any business or person advising or offering financial products must hold an Australian Financial Services (AFS) license.
  • Check ASIC's list of companies you should not deal with. If the company is on the list - do not deal with them.
  • Don’t be pressured into making a decision about money or investments ,and never commit to any investment at a seminar - always get independent legal or financial advice.
  • Do not respond to emails from strangers offering predictions on shares, investment tips, or investment advice.
  • If an offers seems like it might be legitimate, always check the company's listing on the stock exchange for its current value and recent shares performance. Some offers may be well above or below market value.
  • Never commit to any investment at a seminar - always take time to consider the opportunity and seek independent financial advice.
  • Watch out for offers promoting easy or early access to your preserved superannuation benefits. If you illegally access your super early, you may face penalties under taxation law.

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