With tax season now here, it’s important to stay vigilant of scammers. Unfortunately, Australians have lost tens of thousands of dollars due to increasing fraud and scams activity happening in the last few months. These include SMS with malicious links, impersonation of government agencies (such as the ATO), and phishing emails.
Scammers are now targeting individuals to get involved in Cryptocurrency and Investment Scams, as well as Money Recovery Scams.
At Qudos Bank, it’s our commitment to keep your personal information and transactions safe. We have implemented a range of security measures to ensure that your banking transactions are protected.
Cryptocurrency & Investment Scams
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) ‘Scamwatch’ released data that Australians lost over $205 million through scams over the four months to the end of April 2022. This was a 166% increase compared to the same time last year. The majority of reported investment scam losses ($113 million) involved crypto investments. This is an increase of 314% compared to the same time last year1.
Australians have also experienced an increase in Imposter bond scams this year as reported by Scamwatch. This involves scammers typically impersonating real financial companies or banks and claim to offer good investments such as government/Treasury bonds or fixed term deposits.
It’s always recommended that thorough research and due diligence is done through independent and authorised sources. Never rely on the person making an investment offer to provide you with the accurate details, as they’re more than likely to scam you.
Red flags to look out for
To keep yourself safe, here are some fraudster red flags to take note of and help you avoid the latest Cryptocurrency and Investment Scams targeting unsuspecting consumers.
- Unsolicited contact: If someone contacts you out of the blue, whether that’s through a phone call, email or text message, it’s important to question their identity and go through the steps of verifying the person in contact.
- If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is: Scams generally promise high returns with low risk. If an offer sounds too good to be true – no matter how enticing – avoid them at all costs.
- Unusual payment methods: Scammers don’t want to be traced, so typically they may ask you to funnel money through direct money transfers, telegraphic transfer, pre-paid gift cards or cryptocurrency. Some of these payment methods make it difficult for banks to recover money that’s been lost.
Things you should know before making an investment
- Check the company or product issuer is licensed. You can use ASIC Connect's Professional Registers to check whether a company or investment product issuer is licensed by ASIC. If they're not, don't invest.
- Watch out for get rich quick schemes and scams. Beware of unsolicited investment offers. Ask yourself: where did they get your details and why are they contacting you with an investment opportunity? If you can't answer these questions, don't move forward with the offer.
- Go through how the investment works. If you don't understand how an investment makes money or if the salesperson can't explain it clearly, we encourage you to do more independent research before making the call to invest.
- Know how much risk you're taking on. Be wary of investments that promise high returns. High returns mean higher risk of losing money.
- Read the product disclosure statement (PDS). This tells you an investment's key features, returns, fees, and risks.
- Get professional advice if you're unsure. If you're unsure about an investment, it’s best to always seek independent financial advice from a certified professional.
The Emergence of Money Recovery Scams
In April 2022, Scamwatch received a spike in reports from people who had fallen victim to Money Recovery Scams2.
This scam targets those who already lost money from a previous scam.
Scammers typically disguise themselves from a trusted organisation such as a law firm, fraud taskforce or government agency. They then convince victims that they can recover their losses by requesting that they pay a fee in advance.
From this year alone, Australians have lost over $270,000 from these Money Recovery Scams, which has been a significant increase since 20213.
Scammers involved in Money Recovery Scams go at length to target vulnerable people. These are things to watch out for in a Money Recovery Scam:
- Getting contacted by someone offering to help you recover funds
- Official-looking websites and fake testimonials
- Filling out fake paperwork or providing identity documents
- Requesting remote access to computers or smart phones
How to keep yourself safe
Money Recovery Scams have had a significant impact on Australians, so it’s important that you’re aware of the signs so you don’t fall victim to them.
These are some handy tips, which can help keep your money safe.
- Hang up the phone and delete emails and text messages: Scammers tend to contact people randomly and make an offer to “help” people recover money lost. They also ask for a fee to be paid for upfront. If you receive these types of calls, hang up and delete any other communication you’ve received– whether that be through email or text message.
- Don’t give out your financial details or copies of your identifying documents: If you have someone requesting personal information from you and you’ve never met them in real life, it’s best to not proceed.
- Look them up online: Scammers can be very convincing so if you know any details about their organisation, do an online search about them and add the terms, ‘complaint’, ‘scam’ or ‘review’ to help you find out if they’re legitimate or not.
We urge you to stay safe and be informed of the latest developments happening in the Fraud & Security space. For more information and resources, please go to:
- External support services: This is a list we’ve compiled of helpful resources that could be helpful if you’ve been impacted by scams or fraud.
- Reporting scams: If you have any fraud enquiries, please contact us immediately on 1300 747 747 so we can best assist you.