Steve is a 65-year-old who lives alone in retirement.
Not long after his wife’s death, he received an unexpected call from fraud operators.
The cold-callers were very professional in their approach, with excellent knowledge of investment matters. They answered all of Steve’s questions and their initial contact was followed up with calls from ‘senior advisors’.
As Steve’s superannuation funds weren’t doing so well, he decided to give this new investment opportunity a try. He did not see the need to discuss the investment opportunities with anyone else.
Over the next 12 months, Steve made a number of transfers to the fraudsters, initially starting with $10,000. He was referred to a very professional looking website and set up a login account, which showed his money increasing in value as the market ‘went up’. Overall, Steve sent $200,000.
He only realised that the investments were fraudulent when the website went down and he could no longer access his account or contact the offshore group by phone.
He then did some research and discovered that the company was fake but he was too embarrassed to tell anyone or report it to police. He was contacted by police after they discovered his name on bank transfers made to known fraudsters.
Since learning of the fraud, Steve has been contacted again by criminals, with offers to help him get his money back from the original investment. This time Steve contacted police, who explained this was a ‘secondary fraud’ and warned him to expect more calls like this as his name was passed on to other criminals.
Unfortunately, there is little authorities can do to recover Steve’s $200,000.
The Australian Crime Commission Board has established a multi-agency task force that aims to disrupt fraudulent serious and organised investment scams and harden the Australian environment against this type of organised criminality. Find out more at the Australian Crime Commission website.