Commonwealth logo, ACCC Logo and Scamwatch banner

SCAMwatch homeInvestment scams (get-rich-quick)

Investment scams (get-rich-quick)

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.

Unsolicited phone calls pushing high-return and high-risk investments, often in overseas markets. The callers sound professional but are not licensed in Australia.

Spam email or strange phone messages that urge you to buy shares in a thinly-traded company. The scammers wait until their victims invest before selling their own stock at a profit.

High-pressure sales in high-risk investment strategies. Scammers profit through attendance fees and by selling property and investments at inflated prices.

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.

Similar scams:

There are a range of scams marketed as business opportunities. They promise success but usually only the promoter makes any money.

Scammers ‘guarantee’ you a job or certain level of income, tricking you into paying an up-front fee for a ‘business plan’ or materials.

Illegal schemes that always collapse when the supply of victims dries up, leaving nearly everyone involved much worse off.

You are asked to send money upfront for a product or ‘reward’. You will end up with something much less than you expected, or nothing at all.

You are promised huge rewards if you help someone transfer money out of their country by paying fees or giving them your bank account details.

Printer friendly
Quick links

© Commonwealth of Australia 2015