Investment scams are schemes cleverly designed by scammers to trick people out of their money by promising very high returns on an investment or a questionable business venture.
How this scam works
A scammer who claims to be a stock broker or portfolio manager contacts you via a phone call, email, text message or even in person and offers financial or investments advice.
They will claim that what they are offering is low-risk and will provide you with quick and high returns. The scammer's offer will sound legitimate and they may have resources to back up their claims. They are usually persistent, and may keep calling.
The investments offered in these type of calls are usually shares, mortgage, or real estate high-return schemes, options trading or foreign currency trading.
Share promotions and hot tips
The scammer encourages you to buy shares in a company that they predict is about to increase in value. You may be contacted by email or text message. The message will seem like an inside tip and stress that you need to act quickly. The scammer is trying to boost the price of stock so they can sell shares they have already bought, and make a huge profit. The share value will then go down dramatically.
If you invest you will be left with large losses or shares that are virtually worthless.
- You receive an email from a stranger offering advice on the share price of a particular company. It is usually not be addressed to you personally.
- You are promised very high returns with little risk - these promises are too good to be true.
- You are persuaded to take up the offer immediately or you'll miss the opportunity - legitimate companies don't pressurize people to act without time to look into the deal.
- You’re given little information in writing - all legitimate investments must have documents that explain the investment.
- They claim that it is a "private" offer, and only open to a select few.
- You are instructed that the scheme must be kept confidential in order to succeed.
- You are given very little or no details about the person or company making the offer.
- They Claim to be "totally safe" or "risk-free" - all investments have some degree of risk.
- They have no Investment statement, registered prospectus, or financial statements.
How to protect yourself
- Do not give your details to an unsolicited caller or reply to emails or text messages offering financial advice or investment opportunities - just hang up or delete the email.
- Be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk.
- Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments and never commit to any investment at a seminar - always get independent legal or financial advice.
- Do not receive financial advice or make commitment to investment opportunities advertised by your religious leaders as they are not financial experts and therefore lack the expertise to advice people on financial or investment matters.
- Do not respond to emails from strangers offering predictions on shares, investment tips, or investment advice.
- If you feel an offer to buy shares might be legitimate, always check the company's listing on the stock exchange for its current value and recent shares performance.
Have you been scammed?
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
We encourage you to report scams to us via report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.
We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.
Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.