How To Identify Scam Competitions

Posted on: 28th May 2013

Scammers know all the tricks of the trade to get you to hand over your money. Stay one step ahead of scammer and follow these practical things do to protect yourself.

  1. Do your research.

Scam AlertWithout an AFS licence, foreign businesses are not allowed to sell overseas investments to Australians. In the same way, Australian companies also need an AFS licence to legally sell investments in Australia. So, it is imperative to know a little more about the nature and real purpose of a company before you deal with them. You should seek independent professional or legal advice so you are not relying solely on the information the potential scammer gives you.

Before you say YES to any investment opportunity they are selling you, check the company's Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence number by searching ASIC Connect's Professional Registers. If the company does not have an AFS licence or dismisses the matter lightly, do not deal with them and report them to ASIC. You can also check ASIC's list of companies you should not deal with to see if they are on the list.

  1. Check the legitimacy.

Ask the right questions and demand a straightforward answer right away. You have to know exactly the entity or organisation that owns them and/or representing them as well as their main office address.

You are most likely dealing with a scam if they cannot offer a clear and honest answer on these basic questions. Hang up the phone, do not respond to the email or stop dealing with the person. Even if they answer all these questions, be cautious and do your own checks on their answers.

  1. Safeguard your personal information.

If you haven’t verified the authenticity of a company, never give out your personal, banking or credit card information. Go over your bank and credit card statements on a regular basis to monitor discrepancy. Choose passwords that are difficult to guess and never share your passwords with anyone else. Destroy all documents with your personal information on them.

  1. Take extra measure to secure your mobile device, computer, and other electronic equipment.

Suspicious or unsolicited emails must never be entertained; they go straight to the trash bin. Enable security settings on your computer and mobile devices and install current anti-virus programs.

  1. Avoid telemarketing calls.

It is best to put your name on the Do Not Call Register to remove your name from telemarketing phone lists. Even if this will not stop scammers from reaching you, this should reduce the number of telemarketing calls you will receive.

Be on guard about every offer that is made to you. Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Your best defence against internet scams is to hang up the phone, delete the email or destroy the letter if you think it looks even vaguely like a scam.

  1. Do not be fooled again.

If you have been a victim of a marketing scam, you are more vulnerable to be a target again. Do not entertain a scammer if they try the following tricks:

  • Offering another investment in exchange for the loss you have incurred
  • Making you wait until your investment increases in value
  • Offering to buy your shares at a premium but asking you to shoulder some type of fee related to the shares
  • Asking you to pay for travel and accommodation costs to catch the scammer

Even though scammers know you will never get your money back, they will still do everything to get the best of you so you have to be vigilant at all times.

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