Scamwatch, a watchdog under the operation of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or ACCC, has recently made a report. The report revealed to the public that over $61.6 million had been lost due to fraudulent investment schemes, in 2019 alone. The report thus shows that monetary losses to these schemes have almost doubled, with the same group reporting a relatively paltry $38.8 million in damages just a year earlier.
Capitalizing On Misery
The most significant losses came back in the month of July, with August and December following behind. The total amount of reports that occurred in 2019 was 4986, and those between the 25-34 age range being the most active when it comes to sending investment fraud complaints.
Sadly, the national crisis wracking Australia has only done the investment fraud business good. With all the fear and confusion going around, many intrepid scammers have seen to it that they establish fraudulent fundraises masquerading as trying to help the victims. With the sheer volume of legitimate funds out there focusing on the crisis, many criminals are hiding amongst them as well.
Eyes Open, Mind Sharp
As always, it’s highly recommended to report any sort of fraud scheme to Scamwatch. The ACCC has been growing so tired of bushfire related scams, that they have dedicated an entire call center to report bushfire crimes exclusively. The number for bushfire scams is 1300 795 995.
Scamwatch further warns that these scams need not set up a fake business model, but could instead pretend to be a legitimate, well-known charity establishment. Scamwatch notes that these impersonations of well-known charities, famous people, and the creation of their own fraudulent charities have severely impacted the bushfire crisis due to the funds not going where they should. These scammers do everything from direct messaging, cold calling, to even creating entire websites and social pages dedicated to their fraudulent charity to raise their respective funds.
Suspicion Is King
Due to this, Scamwatch advises the public not to donate on fundraiser pages that do not have verification of the site’s relevant legitimacy as a fundraiser. Furthermore, it’s recommended to stay away from a platform that doesn’t guarantee a refund should the relevant page be determined as fraudulent.
If one is not sure about a page’s validity, it’s advised not to invest. Instead, Scamwatch recommends investment by way of an established charity. This will ensure that criminals will not gain any sort of illegitimate gains out of this crisis.