Fraudulent investments are not just out on the streets; its presence can be felt even in the World Wide Web. Unless you are more alert, scammers always have a trick up their sleeve to get money from you. So it is important that you are always a step ahead of the investment scams to protect your hard-earned cash and life investments from them.
Simple tips to keep the scammers at bay:
- Research well
Both foreign and local brokers and investment advisers who want to sell their products or get you into entering to a business agreement with must have Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence. It is important to find out the complete details about the company you are going to deal with. Go ahead and seek legal or professional advice about your plan rather than blindly relying on the details and information that the possible scammer is providing you.
Before you get in business with any such unknown company, check their AFS licence number on the professional registers of ASIC Connect. If you find that the company is trying to avoid providing this essential information you have asked for or if it does not have the AFS licence, then report the company immediately to ASIC. Another way of checking the company’s credentials is to check in the ASIC’s list the name of the companies that you should NOT be dealing with. So if the company you are trying to deal business with is listed there, then by all means, go ahead and do so.
- Check legitimacy
Before you do businesses with any company, check if the company is legitimate. Ask questions to find out if you are not getting into some kind of scam. Demand straightforward answers. Find out clearly the organisation they are part of, who is the owner or who are they representing. Get the address of their local office and office headquarters as well as contact numbers and website, if there is any. These are some of the basic questions that all companies should be willing to share. And if any company is hesitant on providing these details to you, then most certainly they are trying to hide something or that it is a scam. Stop any further communication with such company, be it via email or phone. And even if you get the details from them, don’t feel too confident about having transactions with them until you have made your own search and confirmed if the details are correct.
- Protect your personal details
Until you have not verified the details of the company you are dealing with, do not give away to them any of your personal information like your bank details, credit card number or social security number. Keep a regular check of your bank and credit card statements for any kind of discrepancies. Set up difficult passwords for your bank and credit cards and never share your passwords with anyone. If your personal information are on any loose paper or easily accessible on your system then destroy them.
- Secure your gadgets
Make all the arrangements to secure all your electronic gadgets like your phone, laptops, pagers and iPads, among other things. Never access any unsolicited and suspicious mails that you find your mailbox. Instead delete them immediately. Keep the anti-virus programme on your system updated and set up firewalls and strong security system for all your electronic gadgets. If the scammers really want to penetrate your personal accounts, they would go to any length just to achieve it. So you can never be too careful about your securing your gadgets.
- Avoid telemarketers
Do not entertain calls from telemarketers. Get yourself on the Do Not Call List of these companies that make telemarketing calls. This may not make you fool-proof from the scammers but it will certainly help you get rid of some. And it will also reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive.
Be alert about all the offers that are put forward to you. If you find offers that are too good to be true, then it probably is a form of scam. The best and the easiest way to keep you safe from any scam is to delete any unsolicited email, hang up the call and tear down the letter that looks like it is a scam.
- Be alert
If you have been scammed in the past, then you are most likely to be targeted again. So this time around, beware of the following tricks that the scammer may use against you:
- The scammer may offer you a different investment option to cover up for the loss that you earlier incurred.
- If you choose to accept the offer and make the investment, the scammer will make you wait longer than required until your investment value rises up.
- The scammer will offer to pay you a premium rate for your shares but in turn may ask you to bear the fee that is related to the shares.
- You may be asked to pay for the journey in terms of travel and accommodation to nab the scammer.
The scammers know that you will never be compensated for your loss but they will try all the tricks they know to scam you again. So you must be alert all the time.