The recent Gold Coast cold call investment fraud should serve as a warning that fraudulent operations are well organized using telemarketers, false websites and ad publications to mislead their victims into an “investment opportunity”.
“These types of criminal operations are referred to as “boiler rooms”, rooms of telephone operators calling potential investors and offering once in a lifetime investment opportunities. These are frauds, plain and simple. People lose their money, there is no investment or return,” Detective Superintendent Brian Hay said.
You cannot rely solely on the internet for investment authenticity. The recent fraud has left 64 victims with a combined loss of $1.5 million. Detective Hay reported that these “Victims who invested were allegedly offered access to a website where they could track their “investment” and balance. We will allege these balances were manipulated to show a false profit”.
It is critical to always check the legitimacy of investment companies before signing any agreement by conducting the following recommended checks:
- If it looks or sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
- Does the company hold an Australian Financial Services Licence? The Australian
- Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) website (www.fido.gov.au) lists all companies holding a licence and contains a list of blacklisted or banned operators.
- Check information on similar business opportunity scams by contacting the Australian
- Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website (www.scamwatch.gov.au).
Seek independent advice (from your lawyer and/or financial adviser).
At Southport Magistrates court last week, a 25-year-old woman, a 54-year-old man and a 29-year-old man, all of Currumbin Waters, were charged with money laundering charges for the abovementioned fraud.
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