Investment scams can come in many forms—from an unexpected phone call offering an investment opportunity to an email encouraging you to buy shares that are about to go up based on 'secret' information. You could be offered early access to your super, gambling software or promised large tax deductions or refunds.
When you take part in an investment scam, you will probably lose a lot of money and may end up in considerable debt. If you invest in a dodgy tax scheme, you could also be liable to pay back any missing tax plus interest and penalties on top of losing your investment.
If you are approached by somebody out of the blue who offers you an investment opportunity, say 'No' and hang up the phone or delete the email. It is the best thing to do.
Do not rely on advice from the person trying to sell you the investment. Always seek independent financial and/or legal advice before making any investment decision. If using a broker or financial adviser, make sure they hold an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence. You can check the ASIC Connect Professional Registers to find out if the company or person you are dealing with holds an AFS licence.
Be cautious about investment opportunities that offer lucrative returns through tax breaks. Visit the Australian Tax Office website for more information on dodgy tax schemes.
The ATO has produced a video that provides tips to help you recognise, reject and report aggressive tax planning arrangements.
You are offered early access to your superannuation (‘early release’), often through a self-managed super fund. The scammers take a large part of your super for themselves, and put you at risk for accessing your super in an illegal way.