Investment scams are becoming increasingly more sophisticated at targetting even the most vigilant person. Because many scams are operated by criminals overseas, once you’ve given them any money it is very hard and very rare to get it back – even from countries with tough anti-fraud laws.
Investment scams are becoming increasingly more sophisticated at targetting even the most vigilant person. Because many scams are operated by criminals overseas, once you’ve given them any money it is very hard and very rare to get it back – even from countries with tough anti-fraud laws. Where you send it probably isn’t where it ends up. That’s why it’s vital you protect yourself by not getting involved in the first place. This section of the website arms you with the information you need to protect yourself from being scammed. We recommend that you bookmark our Scam warnings and alerts page as a quick check before you engage or transact with a company. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
It can be hard to know if you’ve been scammed or are being scammed. Scammers know how to win people’s confidence, hence why they’re also called ”con artists”. Many even form close relationships with victims. With investments, often they first charm you by telling or showing you how wealthy they are, then talk you into giving them your money so you can be wealthy too, and then finally keep on giving you excuses as to why they can’t pay you your money back.
You might not see all of these common signs of a scam, but just one or two should ring alarm bells:
Do a reality check:
Do some digging:
Take decisive action:
Call the police on 105 for non-emergencies, or 111 if you are in immediate danger.
A recovery scam is a form of ‘advance fee’ scam, where money is requested before funds can be returned. Targets of recovery scams are those people who have already been a victim of a scam.
The victim is approached with an offer of help in recovering funds lost in the original scam. The scammer might be posing as an authority or with some kind of official agency, then make promises about getting lost funds back, before asking for a fee or payment to proceed.
If you’ve already fallen victim to a scam, be particularly alert. A recovery scam attempt might come from the same people behind the original scam, or they might be acting on your personal information that’s been passed on or sold to other criminals.
Be very wary about sharing any personal information about experiences as a victim of a scam. A social media post sharing details of being a financial crime victim can attract the attention of recovery scammers and lead to being re-targeted.
Be suspicious of cold calls of any kind and be especially wary of unsolicited calls or messages from people claiming to be from government agencies.
Discontinue any contact with the potential scammer – you could also directly contact the agency that the person is claiming to work for, and check if it’s authentic.
Further reading: Recovery room scams – Banking Ombudsman
Because many scams are operated by criminals overseas, once you’ve given them any money it is very hard and very rare to get it back – even from countries with tough anti-fraud laws. Where you send it probably isn’t where it ends up. That’s why it’s vital you protect yourself by not getting involved in the first place.
IOSCO receives alerts and warnings from its members about firms which are not authorized to provide investment services in the jurisdiction which issued the alert or warning.
If you believe that a warning has been published in error, or there are other good reasons for us to take down a warning that has been published, please contact us, providing the following information:
We will assess your request and, if appropriate, remove the notice as soon as possible. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for us to act quickly.
We may contact and consult with other people who have an interest in the outcome of a request to remove a warning.
Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, the FMA has seen a rise in the number of complaints about investment scams and fraud.
Scammers are taking advantage of the crisis either by using COVID-19 as part of their ‘pitch’, or using the economic climate to prey on peoples’ fears and desires.
The FMA has received significantly more complaints about scams in the first half of 2021 – and subsequently issued more public warnings about them – compared to both 2020 and 2019.
The FMA has seen a rise in the following types of scam activity since the start of 2020:
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, international regulators have been issuing warnings about investment scammers who are exploiting the current market conditions and uncertainty.
These include the following investment offers and activities observed overseas:
Scammers are also using common techniques to trick anxious consumers:
Reports of COVID-related scams by offshore regulators