What is an Investment scam?
An investment scam is where scammers convince you to invest in “high return” investments. The investments vary widely and may be in shares, real estate, bonds, mortgages, options or foreign currency trading, bitcoin, even betting syndicates and foolproof prediction software.
Scammers may claim to be bankers, stockbrokers, financial planners or other investment professionals, they may seem knowledgeable on investment matters and even send you links to legitimate looking fake websites and prospectus documents. Often the account name you are directed to pay differs to that of the investment company.
Online investment scams have been known to use celebrities’ names and pictures (without them knowing) to endorse their schemes.
What they're after
Investment scammers are after your money and personal information. They may take your money upfront or show you good returns for a while encouraging you to invest more money before they disappear.
Signs this may be a scam
The return on an investment sounds too good to be true.
Always research before any investment, fully understand the risks. Get independent financial advice from your accountant or financial adviser.
Professional-looking websites, apps or brochures that may appear credible.
Scammers may provide written or verbal consultations, with well designed prospectus brochures to support their claim.
You are put under time pressure to invest or subscribe now.
Do not act immediately. Check financial advisors are registered via the ASIC website.
You are offered software that can predict sports, or racing events or financial markets for high returns.
Caution! No person or computer software can predict the future reliably.
Who should I contact and examples of scams
- Please report scams or suspicious activity immediately to Westpac at 132 032 or 61 2 9155 7700 (if calling from overseas).
- Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or sms/text messages to 0497 132 032 then delete the email or message.
- Report all suspicious activity to the Australian Cyber Security Centre at cyber.gov.au/report.
- Contact IDCARE toll-free on 1800 595 160 or visit their website idcare.org. They provide free, confidential support and guidance to people who have been targeted by fraud, scams, identity theft or compromise.
- Keep up to date on scams by subscribing to the government's scam email alerts from scamwatch.gov.au/subscribe.
- Check out our latest scams, for copies of recently reported scams at westpac.com.au/scams.
Things you should know
* Examples are based on one or more real scam reports received by Westpac. For privacy purposes real names have not been used.