How Steve lost $200 000 to an investment scam

Steve is a 65-year-old who lives alone in retirement.

Not long after his wife’s death, he received an unexpected call about an investment opportunity. The cold-callers were very professional in their approach and seemed to have excellent knowledge of investment matters. They answered all of Steve’s questions and their initial contact was followed up with calls from ‘senior advisors’.

There are no shortcuts to wealth. If you receive unsolicited calls or emails, hang up or delete them immediately.

As Steve’s superannuation funds weren’t doing so well, he decided to give this new investment opportunity a try. He did not think about discussing the investment opportunities with anyone else.

Over the next 12 months, Steve made a number of transfers to the 'investment professionals', 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’. Confident the system was working, he invested more money. Overall, Steve sent $200 000.

Always seek independent financial advice before making an investment.

He only realised that the investment scheme was a scam 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 the company was fake and not registered with the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) 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 most likely passed on to other criminals.

Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that authorities will be able to recover Steve’s $200 000.

*The story above is based on one or more real scam reports received by the ACCC. For privacy purposes the names and images of victims have not been used.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you've been scammed or know someone who has, report it to the ACCC using our report a scam page.

If you have lost money, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

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