I was contacted over the phone by an online trader who specialised in binary options, cryptocurrency and forex trading. He said his company was on the cutting edge and used the latest technology and could offer guaranteed returns. I invested a few thousand and used their online platform, which seemed to work very well. I could see my trades were resulting in good profits. I invested more at their insistence and they promised I would earn even more.
When I wanted to withdraw my money I was told I would need to pay taxes on my profits before I could access it. I was never warned about this but they insisted I needed to pay taxes before I could get my money back. After I asked for my money, my trades started to fail and my accumulated profits were starting to decrease. They pressured me to invest more so that I could reverse the situation by increasing my ‘trades volume’. They said I would lose everything unless I invested more as an emergency.
I feel very embarrassed by this scam — they were very convincing and professional. They stated I would be ‘kicked off the market’ because my trades were failing and I was reduced to three per cent of my initial investment but by that point I knew it was all fake.
Signs this was a scam
The victim was:
- phoned out of the blue by a stranger offering unsolicited advice on investments
- told he had to pay additional fees (taxes in this case) to access his money, though he was not informed of this earlier
- offered ‘guaranteed returns’
- encouraged to invest more by being promised higher returns, and then pressured to do so or risk of losing all of his money.
Avoid this type of scam
- Hang up on the caller and taken some time to think about it. Do research and seek trusted or independent financial or legal advice.
- Check on the ASIC website to ensure the business is a registered financial advisor. Any business or person that offers or advises you about financial products must be an Australian Financial Services licence holder. Check ASIC's list of companies you should not deal with.
*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.