Losses due to investment scams in Australia jump 205% in one week

Maria Nikolova

Australia’s Scamwatch advises the public to beware of get-rich-quick schemes, as investment losses top $1.6 million in the week to June 23, 2019.

Losses due to investments scams in Australia marked a 205% jump last week, according to Scamwatch, the body operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The data show that Australians reported having lost over $1.6 million due to investment fraud in the June 17 – June 23, 2019 period.

Scamwatch advises the public to be wary of get-rich-quick schemes.

Let’s recall that, as per recent Scamwatch reports, Australians lost $18.57 million during the first five months of 2019. In May, the losses due to investment fraud were close to those reported in April 2019. Whereas in April they stood at $4.17m, in May the losses are at $4.24 million.

Australians submitted 1,956 reports about investment scams in the January-May 2019 period. The most active in submitting reports about fraudulent investment schemes were those between 25 to 44 years of age. Australians over 65 years of age reported the biggest losses.

In 2018, Australians filed a total of 3,508 reports about investment scams and reported losses of $38.85 million. This compares to more than $31 million reported lost to investment scams in 2017. Last year, July was the month with the biggest amount of losses ($6 million).

The large majority of investment scams are still focused on traditional investment markets like stocks, real estate or commodities. For example, 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.

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