Scammers can disguise themselves as well-known businesses and government agencies such as myGov, Services Australia, the Department of Health and the ATO
Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages requesting your personal or financial information
Always be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk—if it sounds good to be true, then it probably is.
Super and investment scams can be devastating for those who fall victim to them, often causing significant financial loss.
We discuss some of the most common super and investment scams, how to identify them, and how you can protect yourself.
How scammers work
Scammers often use fake vouchers, financial assistance claims or general information as bait to ‘phish’ for your personal information, including your super.
They may try to contact you by cold calling or may send a text message or email containing malicious links.
Common types of super scams
Super information scams
These scams involve individuals or companies claiming to be from a super fund or regulatory body who is seeking your personal information.
They may claim they need this information to update your super account or verify your identity.
To protect yourself, never give out your sensitive information unless you’re sure it’s safe to do so.
Early access to super scams
These involve individuals or companies offering to help you access your super before you’re legally entitled to.
They may claim that doing this can help you pay off debts or purchase a house for example.
But accessing your super early can result in significant penalties. In addition, these scams may involve high fees or charges which can eat into your super savings.
To protect yourself, be aware of the legal requirements for accessing your super and seek professional advice.
Common types of investment scams
Identity theft scams
These types of scams involve criminals stealing your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, and tax file number.
With this information, they can open bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts in your name, leaving you with the debt and damaged credit score.
To protect yourself, it’s important to be cautious with your personal information. Keep your sensitive information secure, such as your tax file number, and be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages asking for your personal information.
It’s also important to check your bank accounts for any suspicious activity. If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, contact your bank or financial institution immediately and report the fraud to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
Investments that are not regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), may offer the potential for high returns, but they also come with a high degree of risk.
Because they are not regulated, there is no oversight to ensure that the investment is legitimate. This means there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive any return on your investment.
Examples include cryptocurrencies. While these investments may be legitimate, they are not subject to the same regulations as traditional investments such as shares or managed funds.
Investment cold calls
These are unsolicited phone calls from individuals or companies offering investment opportunities with high returns and little or no risk.
They can be difficult to identify as the callers may sound professional and knowledgeable. They may also use official-sounding company names or logos.
To protect yourself, avoid providing your personal or financial information over the phone, and do not make any investment decisions on the spot. Instead, research the investment thoroughly and seek advice from a financial professional.
Protecting yourself from scammers
The following is a list of key things you should be looking out for to ensure you don’t fall victim to a scammer.
Never give information about your super to someone who has contacted you, even when you think it is a trusted organisation. Always verify their identity by calling the relevant organisation directly from contact details you have sourced. Never provide your account login details to a third party
Don’t click on hyperlinks in text/social media messages or emails, even if they appear to come from a trusted source. MLC will never send you an email asking for your password, or with a direct link to a login page to access your account
Always be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk—if it sounds good to be true, then it probably is
If you’re speaking with a financial adviser, check if they’re registered via the ASIC website. Any person or business offering advice about financial products must hold an Australian Financial Services licence from ASIC
Never let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments and never commit to any investment at a seminar. Always get independent legal or financial advice first.
What to do if you’re concerned
We’re committed to protecting your super and investment savings and have strong measures in place to detect suspicious behaviour.
If you believe you may have fallen victim to a scam, please contact us immediately.
Where to find out more?
Scamwatch – www.scamwatch.gov.au
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – Targeting scams: Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2013 – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – http://www.accc.gov.au/publications/targeting-scams-report-on-scam-activity
Need to talk to someone?
Beyond Blue – www.beyondblue.org.au
Lifeline – www.lifeline.org.au
This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. NULIS is part of the group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (‘Insignia Financial Group’). The information in this article is current as at June 2023 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. The case study examples (if any) provided in this article have been included for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the Insignia Financial Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.