What are investment scams?
Investment scams occur when someone contacts you out of nowhere, such as by phone or email, offering you the chance to make easy money through a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’.
Investment scams can be presented as an offer to make money from potential assets such as:
- cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin)
- business ventures
- superannuation schemes
- managed funds
- shares or property
Scammers will often create ‘opportunities’ with professional brochures, websites and advertisements. These can mask fraudulent activities and trick individuals into taking up the offer.
Investment scams can be very convincing. Scammers may look and sound highly professional, and it may be hard to tell if they are genuine investments or not.
What is an investment scam?
Investment scams are the costliest of all scams, with Australians losing more than 10 times the amount of money to investment scams than any other type of scam in 2022.
A scammer will present an individual or business with an opportunity to make money by inviting them to purchase things like shares, cryptocurrency or property . But these offers are fraudulent and are an attempt to steal your money or access your bank account. Warning signs of an investment scam include:
- A cold call, text, email or social media request inviting you to invest and grow your money;
- Time pressure or coercive language to get you to invest quickly;
- Promises of attractive returns in a short space of time – or even evidence of initial returns. Scammers may try to gain your trust by demonstrating initial success;
- Being asked not to tell anyone about your investment;
- Impersonating trusted brands or public figures – always check for the official website or social media page verification.
If you’re contacted about an investment opportunity, talk to a friend or family member before you invest. You can also do detailed checks, such as obtaining independent legal and financial advice.
Remember: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Legitimate investment opportunities rarely come from cold calls, unsolicited emails or social media.
If you’re unsure, don’t invest.
Visit bendigobank.com.au/security for more information on staying safe and reporting scams.
How to spot a scam
- If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always be wary of ‘investment opportunities’ that promise a high return with little or no risk.
- Most investment fraud scammers engage online via social media advertisements, often endorsed by public figures or well-known TV programs.
- Be suspicious of scammers posing as financial advisors offering to help you access your superannuation early. They’ll try to falsely act on your behalf and trick your super company into paying your benefits into their own account.
- Scammers are likely to ask you to invest more money or make a ‘tax payment’ in order to allow the release of your funds.
- Know that scammers might claim to be calling from genuine investment firms and present you with a legitimate opportunity despite not being an employee of the firm. Once you agree to invest, your funds will not actually go into the investment.
How to protect yourself
- Before putting money into an investment, do some of your own research. You can check if the company has an Australian Financial Services Licence by visiting www.moneysmart.gov.au.
- Watch out for offers promoting the ability to have easy and early access to your superannuation.
- Don’t be pressured into making an investment or decision about your money, especially if you’re presented with an opportunity via an unsolicited email or phone call. Always seek advice from a reputable financial advisor and raise concerns with your local branch.
- Do not give your details to anyone contacting you over the phone or via email offering investment opportunities or financial guidance, especially if you have never met them – hang up or delete the email.
Let us know ASAP if you think you have been the victim of a scam
Things to remember
- Never provide your 6-digit e-banking security code to anyone - in person, over the phone or online even if they claim to work for your bank and have personal information about you.
- Never provide a caller with remote access to your computer.
- We will never ask you for your e-banking PIN, e-banking password or 6-digit e-banking security code.
- We will never ask you to login to e-banking via a link sent in an SMS or sent in an email.
- We may call from time to time and ask to verify your identity by asking for your verbal password. However, we will never ask you for any PIN, password or security code relating to your e-banking. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always verify our branch contact details on our website and call us back.
If you need help or more information
If you have clicked on any suspicious links and entered your e-banking details:
If you have received a suspicious SMS message claiming to be from us, you can forward it to 0429 557 997 for investigation.
Please note you will not receive a personal response from 0429 557 997.
If you have received any suspicious emails, you can forward them to us via email.
Please note you will not receive a personal email response from us.