#1 fund for weathering market ups and downs3
SuperRatings' Pension of the Year three years in a row4
Australians lost around $70 million to investment scams in the first half of 2021, which is more than the total losses for 2020.1 Find out how to stay safe from scams.
A 53.4% jump in reports of investment scams in the six months to 30 June 2021 compared to last year has prompted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch to warn consumers to beware of investment and cryptocurrency scams.
Scamwatch found there were 4,763 reports about investment scams between 1 January and 30 June 2021, up from 3,104 in the first half of 2020.1
Losses to investment scams involving Bitcoin reached $25.7 million in the first six months of 2021, compared to $17.8 million across all of 2020. This represents a 44% increase.
Losses to other types of investment scams, including imposter bond scams, Ponzi schemes, and romance baiting scams also increased.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s MoneySmart website2 says every scam is different, can be very difficult to spot, and anyone can be scammed.
Investment scam types can include:
In all cases, the money you 'invest' goes straight into the scammer's bank account and not towards any real investment.
Be suspicious of anyone who offers you easy money.
There are warning signs you may be being scammed. Look out for whether the person offering you an investment opportunity:
ASIC says if you spot any signs of a scam, hang up the phone or delete the email they have sent you.
If you manage to record any of the scammer's details, report them to ASIC or to Scamwatch.
Source: ASIC, Investment scams, Moneysmart.gov.au
Losses to investment scams in the first six months of 2021 increased by almost 120% compared to the same period in 2020.
Cryptocurrencies were the most common payment method used in investment scams and caused the biggest losses.
Of the 1,931 reports involving a loss, 955 were due to cryptocurrencies causing losses of $29.28 million. Bitcoin accounted for over $25 million of the losses.
Over 65s lost the most money to investment scams in the first six months of 2021, suffering losses of $18.8 million. There were 548 reports from victims of scams in this age groups.1
There was also an increase in the number of people aged 18-24 years who lost money through scams. There was a 66% increase in the number of reports about investment scams from this age group, with reported losses of more than $1.7 million, which is 259% higher than for all of 2020.
Indigenous consumers made 84 reports of investment scams and lost $945,270, which is a threefold increase on the total 2020 figure.
In imposter bond scams, scammers impersonate legitimate companies and offer victims the opportunity to purchase fake corporate bonds.
In the first half of this year, there were almost 60 reports of imposter bond scams and losses of more than $6.8 million reported to Scamwatch.
In the first six months of 2021, Scamwatch received more than 400 reports and more than $1 million in reported losses to the Hope Business and Wonderful World scams.
The scams advertised on social media sites and had official-looking apps that were available via official app stores.
People invested their money and were able to make small withdrawals, but then the scammers cut off contact.
In romance baiting scams, a scammer develops a relationship with the victim and convinces them to invest, usually in cryptocurrency or bond scams.
Scamwatch said younger people were often victims of these scams as the scammers operated online posting ‘investment opportunities’ on social media. Younger people were also sometimes tempted to register their interest in cryptocurrency on questionable websites.
If you think you are being targeted by a scam, here’s where to get help.
1. Media Release, 24 August 2021, Australians lose over $70 million to bogus investment opportunities, at scamwatch.gov.au
2. ASIC, MoneySmart, Investment scams, accessed 2 September 2021, at moneysmart.gov.au
QSuper has strong measures in place to detect suspicious behaviour.
Financial abuse can happen to anyone, no matter how much money they have or how educated they may be.
Women’s economic security, safety and health and wellbeing were in focus in the Australian Government’s 2021-22 Budget
QSuper is proud to have a three year partnership with domestic violence hotline, DVConnect – the leading state-wide crisis response service that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here, QSuper speaks with a DVConnect Womensline team member about some of the daily challenges.