What's an investment scam?

When someone contacts you out of the blue, via phone or email, with a chance to invest in a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'.

From cold calls from a scammer pretending to be a stock broker or portfolio manager, to being approached via social media or email with a money making opportunity that requires you to act quickly, you’re promised the investment will provide excellent returns and involve very little risk on your behalf. It sounds like a win-win for you or your business.

The scammer often sounds legitimate and knowledgeable and will throw facts, figures and projections at you to make their investment seem too good to miss out on.

Man holding phone above paperwork

How to avoid being scammed

Spotting a scam

  • Typical investments that raise red flags include real estate and property projects, share and stock promotions, foreign currency trading, and binary options
  • The scammer is likely operating from overseas and will not have a mandatory Australian Financial Services licence
  • Be suspicious of superannuation scammers who pretend to be financial advisers offering to help you access your superannuation early. They falsely act on your behalf and trick your super company into paying your benefits into their own account
  • Scammers are likely to ask you to invest more money or make a ‘tax payment’ in order to allow the release of your funds
  •  If you participate in one of these investments it is extremely unlikely that you will ever see your funds again, let alone any financial returns

How to protect yourself or your business

  • Never give your details to an unsolicited caller or reply to suspicious emails you weren’t expecting
  • Do not give your details to anyone contacting you over the phone or via email offering investment opportunities or financial guidance, especially if you have never met them – hang up or delete the email
  • Always be wary of ‘investment opportunities’ that promise a high return with little risk
  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into making decisions about your money or investments, including your superannuation. Just hang up and do not respond to any subsequent attempts made to contact you
  • Be wary of investment opportunities that offer low risk with high returns – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Do your research to ensure the investment is legitimate and the company has a website with detailed information about its investments
  • Confirm that the company holds a valid Australian Financial Services licence
  • Check ASIC's list of companies you should not deal with. If the company that called you is on the list, do not communicate with them
  • Speak to your friends and family to get their opinion before committing to any investment opportunities. They may be able to offer a fresh perspective and identify any warning signs

Been scammed? What next?

Get in touch

If you (or someone you know) is a CommBank customer and has been targeted or lost money as a result of being scammed, call us immediately 24/7 on 13 2221.

Report it

Report the scam via the Australian Cyber Security Centre. Reports may be referred to the police for possible investigation.

Take control and stay protected

Change your passwords and PINs straight away if you suspect your security has been compromised. Change these regularly as a preventative measure.

Seek support

Contact IDCARE on 1300 432 273 or via www.idcare.org. IDCARE is a free, Government-funded service that provides support to victims of identity crime.

See more about scams that target businesses.

Visit the ScamWatch website for more information on scams.