Australians report losses of more than $35.8m due to investment scams since start of 2018
October was the month with the smallest losses due to investment fraud schemes this year, according the latest data from Scamwatch.
Scamwatch, the body operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has just published its latest data about scams with the numbers showing that the losses due to investment fraud exceeded $35.8 million in the first 10 months of 2018.
During the January – October 2018 period, Australians filed 2,934 reports about investments scams, with the losses amounting to $35,853,001.
On the brighter side, October was the month with the smallest volume of losses reported this year – $1,365,444. This compares to losses of $1.78 million reported in September 2018. People over 65 years of age reported the biggest losses in October, whereas the biggest number of reports was filed by those aged from 25 to 34.
The large majority of investment scams are still focused on traditional investment markets like stocks, real estate or commodities. For instance, scammers cold call victims claiming to be a stock broker or investment portfolio manager and offer a ‘hot tip’ or inside information on a stock or asset that is supposedly about to go up significantly in value. They will claim what they are offering is low-risk and will provide quick and high returns.
Two other types of investments where scams are prevalent are cryptocurrency trading and binary options. Cryptocurrency trading scams have grown significantly in the past 12 months and are now the second most common type of investment scam offer pushed on victims.
According to Scamwatch, the clearest warning sign that one may be dealing with an investment scammer is how they contact their potential victim and the promises they make. Any claims like ‘risk-free investment’, ‘low risk, high return’, ‘be a millionaire in three years’, or ‘get-rich quick’ signify that one is dealing with a scammer.