Here are some things to help you identify a scam. When someone offers you a 25% to 200% return on your investment, they are scammers. Also no one gives anything away for free! If it’s too good to be true it is too good to be true. If someone you’ve never met claims to be in love with you and asks for all your money they do not really love you. If they die suddenly be even more cautious….

One of the many ways to steer clear of scammers is never transfer money to people who email you and tell you they will be sending you vast sums of money. They are NOT. You will NEVER see the money. Gradually the money that is requested from you increases as do the stories about why the amount you need to send them next increases. I have only read about these types of scams, but hear that even when people are told to stop sending money they still do it – In hope that this fictitious offer is real.

When someone calls you and asks you random questions think about what information they are really collecting. The other day a person rang me claiming to be doing a survey for a nearby state. I answered the questions and realised that there was only one question about the state. All the others were about my circumstances. Here is a scam that came my way….

A few years ago I was called about possibly being eligible for an obscure tax deduction. A while after I’d answered this caller’s random set of questions another person phoned me. This person claimed I was almost eligible for the obscure tax and they would help me to be approved. With this approval I would be able to invest in property development through a self managed super fund.

A time was arranged to speak to them. The person was late to call me and I spent the time looking at the information I had. I was taken through questions about whether I have collections and how many investments I had. They wanted to turn monthly insurance payments into ‘investment contributions’. I didn’t make my insurance payments monthly and if I did I wouldn’t regard them as ‘investments’. During this call the people involved told me of three different entities working together that I could invest in. The people would let me know tomorrow if I was entitled to the tax and a self-managed super fund could set up for me. They claimed to be able to set up my self-managed super fund in a day…… Suspicious…..Another time was set up to speak the next evening.

Again the person calling rang me later than the arranged time. I used this time to research the three entities mentioned the day before. One of the searches had me find one reference. A very small number given usual search results. Another search had me find a property site with very few pictures of properties or floorplans. The person who was about to call me had a name spelt in a way I’d never accounted before and her name was not showing any results in my searches. On the property site there was a link to the tax office’s information about self-managed super funds.

This tax office information made me realise exactly what was going on. The information said that people with self-managed super funds were seen to be making their own investment decisions, unless the information came from a financial advisor. Interestingly, and not surprisingly, the people and the associated entities were very clear to point out that they were not financial advisors. They were also clear to point out that investments needed to be moved in $100,000 lots. They were also promising a large return on investment. What this meant was that if I set up a self-managed super fund with these people’s assistance and chose to transfer my $100,000 into it it would be counted as my investment choice. Wow! what a loop hole to exploit.

On the second call, when it finally happened, I was told that I had been granted the special tax exemption.- Surprise. Surprise. I was shown some figures on how my $100,000 would be used to be a quarter of a property development.  Once a new building was finished and sold the figures showed my return would be $25,000. Looking at these figures it seemed to me that my $100,000 was being turned into $25,000.  I asked the person on the phone about this and the person was not sure of what to say. I think I was supposed to think my $100,000 was turning into $125,000.  I ended the call saying I was no longer interested..

I then looked into reporting scams where I live. I reported this giving them all the details I had. While I was talking to the woman on the two calls, she told me her husband have been a property developer, but now this new approach was meaning he worked much less demanding hours. These words echoed in my head as I wrote down everything I could think of. So now rather make an honest living this couple are scamming people. 

When I looked at the website where I made my report it showed the number of scams, the types and the money taken. The figures were staggering. Men had more money taken from them than women. The varying categories for scams were alarming – investments, relationships, inheritance and now medical and vaccination scams – Moving with the times.

When all the pieces fitted together and made me realise what was happening I contacted my superannuation fund. I let them know not to let any external parties extract any money from my account. My account now has a note that no amount is to be extracted unless I am contacted for confirmation. This is a great double check.  Just hope it works!!!

You’ve worked hard for your money. don’t let it disappear!

Have you encountered scammers? How did you fair?