A Government report released yesterday suggests Australians have lost over $100 million in the last five years as a result of Investment fraud. Figures released by “Task Force Galilee” (established by the Serious and Organised Investment Fraud) found that over 2600 Australians were victims of serious and organised investment fraud, losing over $113 million between 2007 and April this year.
Police state organised criminals are using a range of telephone and Internet based methods to trick people, and are most likely to target males aged between 35-50 years, small business owners and self-funded retirees.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare explained the process of the scam:
“This is what happens. The criminal syndicate cold calls the investor, refers them to a flash website and sends them a brochure, promising strong investment returns. After taking their money, they string them along for months or even years, and then the money disappears,” he said.
One similar type scam was the “Shin Kong Wedbush” which resulted in millions of victims, largely from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Originating from Taiwan, they operated by cold calling individuals and small business owners and directing them to a flashy website promising large returns on the victims investment. Once a victim invests, contact is slowly dropped off until eventually all of their contact details are disconnected. Two years on and despite extensive warnings on multiple scam sites, these criminals are still popping up in new locations and finding new victims.
If you have been approached to invest in a project, or are considering investing Private Investigators cannot stress enough the importance of Due Diligence. If something sounds too good to be true, don’t just take things on face value. Appropriate research undertaken by professionals can potentially save Australians millions.
Easy steps to verify authenticity of a Website:
In most instances, the scammers will direct you to a flashy website – with the ultimate goal of gaining your trust and portraying themselves as a professional, long established company.
Using the provided web address (URL), enter this into Domain Tools or alternatively into AusRegistry if it has a .com.au as the suffix. This will provide you ownership details of the domain, including their contact details, and when the domain was created. Does the date registered match the reported experience of the company? Do the owner details match the company details? Be particularly wary of any company looking for your investment who have used privacy companies to shield the owner of the domain.
Above all else, when in doubt – get them checked out. Online Investigations are Private Investigators based in Melbourne, who are experienced in conducting due diligence and investigating scams.
The full Government report can be found here: http://www.crimecommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/Galilee%202012/SOIFA_Report_040712.pdf
Online Investigations Pty Ltd are a private investigation company based in Melbourne, Australia. Experienced private investigators and detectives in Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and Worldwide. Servicing Canberra, Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and International.