28 January 2021
- Scammers are sending fake, professional-looking prospectuses that offer unrealistically high returns.
- ASIC is aware of two such scam operations targeting investors in Australia and overseas.
- Investors can check ASIC’s Offer Notice Board to see if a prospectus relates to a recent offer registered with us.
ASIC is warning investors of a rise in impostor bond-investment offers. Scammers pretend to be associated with well-known domestic and international financial service firms and offer high-yield bond investments to investors. ASIC has recently become aware of two such scam operations targeting investors in Australia and others in countries such as the UK.
In many circumstances, the scam occurs after the investor completes an online enquiry form expressing interest in receiving investment advice, often via a third party or comparison site.
Common tactics deployed by scammers include:
- sending professional-looking fake prospectuses with unrealistically high returns
- falsely stating the bonds are issued by prominent financial services firms when this is not true and there is no underlying investment
- falsely claiming investor funds will be pooled to invest in government bonds or the bonds of companies with AAA credit ratings
- falsely claiming the purchase price of the bonds is protected under the Commonwealth Governments Financial Claims Scheme
- using contact details gathered online through fake investment comparison websites to call people and pressure them to invest or risk ‘missing out’.
Take these steps before investing
- Check ASIC’s Offer Notice Board to see if a prospectus relates to a recent offer registered with us.
- Check ASIC’s register of Australian financial services licensees to make sure any party promoting or issuing the financial product is licensed or is authorised by a licensee.
- Check ASIC’s Moneysmart list companies you should not deal with.
- Check the main website (i.e. the homepage) of the purported issuer of the bonds to see if there are any alerts about imposter scams.
- Seek independent financial advice.
Think you have been scammed?
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 hopefully will warn others to avoid it.
For more information about investment scams, visit ASIC’s Moneysmart website or read ASIC’s media release (21-010MR ASIC warns investors of imposter bond scams).
ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.