Alert: ‘Follow up’ scams – offers to help recover lost funds

11 October 2021

  • ASIC is alerting consumers about offers to recover money lost to scams
  • If you have been scammed, and someone contacts you with an offer to help recover money, it is a scam
  • The best thing to do is to hang up, delete the email or otherwise ignore the contacts

What a follow up scam looks like

The end goal is to extract more money out of the scam victim. These scammers use various methods, including:

  • Impersonating government agencies, usually claiming the victim must pay taxes or fees to ‘retrieve’ or ‘release’ funds
  • Claiming that they can recover funds, cryptocurrency, or digital wallets for an upfront fee (often required to be paid via cryptocurrency)
  • Scammers often pretend to be a scam victim themselves, and claim that a specific ‘firm’ has helped them to recover funds. This is either done via fake recommendations left on review websites or by direct contact with real victims

What to do if you think you have been scammed?

  1. If you transferred funds via bank transfer or credit card, contact your financial institution immediately. They may be able to reverse the transaction. If you have paid scammers via crypto-assets, your bank or credit union won’t be able to assist. As most of these scams originate overseas, once money has left Australia, it is hard to recover. Unfortunately, ASIC cannot assist in getting money back.
  2. If you think you or someone you know has been scammed, lodge a report of misconduct with ASIC and report the matter to police. You can also make a report to the Australian Cyber Security Centre at ReportCyber. Your report may disrupt the scammers and may assist in alerting others.

Further support and information

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat (7pm – 12am) or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their web chat (1pm – 12am)

If you are experiencing problems with debt contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm) or chat online

ASIC’s Moneysmart website has more information on investment scams, as well as cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

Related links

ASIC’s Moneysmart website – Investment scams

ASIC’s Moneysmart website – Cryptocurrencies and ICOs

ASIC’s Moneysmart website – Check ASIC lists

ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.