If you’re a senior, the investment scam is likely a constant worry. You may have receive suspicious phone calls at the least opportune times, trying to sell you the money making idea of a lifetime or a seemingly legitimate investment that seems too good to be true.
The unfortunate fact is that many Australian seniors have fallen victim to these scams, losing part or all of the superannuation that funds their retirement years. But the good news is that these scams can be avoided; one needs only to know what to look for.
Online And Offline
These days, scams designed to steal your superannuation exist both online and offline. Many investment scams either operate overseas, offer investments in overseas companies, or both. In addition, Australians are targeted most often for these, as there is no way to prosecute overseas scammers.
False web sites are another tactic used by online scammers trying to steal your superannuation. An investment web site can look completely legitimate, and even be accompanied by official-looking press releases and other kinds of online advertisements for the company.
Scammers use staff experienced at persuasion to get money from seniors over the phone. Often in a scam scenario, the caller will be passed along to several individuals before speaking with the ‘closer’, who is responsible for compelling you to close a deal and send your money.
Signs of Trouble
A clear sign of a sour deal is a company who refuses to provide you with information about their Australian Financial Services license, or who tries to persuade you to believe that their particular investment doesn’t require one. The same is true of companies who call you several times and urge you to decide quickly, or risk being left out.
Recovering Your Superannuation
While it’s true that many victims never recover their superannuation money, there are steps you can take. First, contact your bank as soon as you suspect you’ve been scammed, as they may be able to restrict access of the scammer to your account.
The next step is to report the scam by contacting the appropriate agency. Investment scams will require a call to ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission). Other types of scams, such as overseas attempts, may require contacting the ACCC (Australian Consumer and Competition Commission). Any scams targeted to your email may be able to be resolved by contacting the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority).
Finally, it’s important to be able to recognize what’s known as a follow-up scam. If someone calls and offers to swap one investment for another in order to help recoup your losses, refuse to speak with them. The same is true if you receive a call that your investment’s value will increase a short time from the call. Be especially suspicious of those who say they can help you recoup any losses for a fee. They will usually refer to this fee as a deposit, tax, or refundable insurance bond.
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