Specialist advisers have critical role safeguarding investors from scams

As part of Scams Awareness Week, the SMSF Association is calling on its members to take a leading role in educating clients on the growing risk of scams and how to correctly spot and report.

Of the $4 billion expected to be lost to scams in Australia in 2022, it is estimated that losses due to investment scams will be the most significant, with $267 million in losses reported as at 31 August 2022. SMSF Association CEO John Maroney says: “As these investment scams continue to grow and become more sophisticated, they present a very real risk to our sector.

“Not only are SMSF trustees and self-directed investors often impacted by these scams, but major investments can be irreversibly damaged by scams and cyber-attacks. We’ve seen that with Medibank and Optus in recent months.”

Scams Awareness Week, which launched yesterday, highlights the need to have a more focussed conversation about the many different types of scams in circulation and what people can do to protect themselves from scammers.

Maroney says: “Our role is to raise awareness, encourage conversations and promote vigilance to safeguard SMSFs from this activity.

“This is why last year we launched our Scams Awareness website to help people identify common scams, explain how to report scams and to offer tips on how people can protect themselves from scammers.

We are calling on SMSF specialist advisers to take a lead role in understanding the warning signs and educating trustees and self-directed investors on scams, and to proactively reach out to clients and encourage them to report scams they may have heard about or experienced themselves.”

70 per cent of total losses reported to Scamwatch in the year to 31 August were investment scams, with losses involving cryptocurrency investments reported as one of the highest of all types of investment scams.

Maroney concludes: “The Association has an important role to play in protecting our community. We will endeavour to continue educating SMSF professionals, trustees, and self-directed investors on how best to protect their retirement savings.”