As the peak professional body representing the SMSF sector throughout Australia, the SMSF Association recognises the increasing risk to SMSF trustees and self-directed investors of cybercrime and scams.
Of the $851 million lost to scams in Australia in 2020, scams targeting investments more broadly were the most significant with reported losses amounting to $328 million*. This is of particular concern within our sector as SMSF trustees and self-directed investors can be impacted by these scams.
The SMSF 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 safeguard/protect retirement savings. There are many different types of scams in circulation and our role is to raise awareness, encourage conversation and promote vigilance to limit those in the SMSF sector from becoming the next scam victim.
Investment scams were the #1 reported cause of financial harm to Australians in 2020
Investment scams losses are on track to more than double in 2021:
- So far this year investment scams losses have exceeded $90 million, more than those for the whole of 2020 ($65.8 million).
- Losses to cryptocurrency scams are the highest of all types of investment scams representing over 50% of losses. Often the initial investment amount is low, between $250 and $500, but the scammers pressure the person to invest more over time before claiming the money is gone or ceasing communication and blocking access to the funds.
- All age groups are losing money to investment scams, but the over 65s have lost the most with $24 million lost. Men have lost the most money.
For more information about investment scams, click here.
Visit SMSF Connect for tailored information that you are able to share with your clients to educate them about cybercrime and scams.
Download the full 'Targeting Scams Infographic'
Common types of scams your client should be aware of
Examples of investment scams
The Vanguard Australia and AMP Capital resources shown, provide common examples of investment scams they have identified, as well as additional information on how to keep your clients and their information safe.
Report the scam
If your client has, or is unsure whether they have been approached by a scammer, there are several things to consider:
- Report the scam to Scamwatch Australia immediately – scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam
- If your client has lost money to a scam, advise them to contact their financial institution immediately to make a complaint – How to Make a Complaint – Australian Banking Association (ausbanking.org.au). If they are unsatisfied with the response from the bank, a complaint can be made to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
- If your client has lost personal information and is concerned their identity may be compromised, your client can contact IDCARE for free support on 1800 595 160.
If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety, emotional concerns or distress about scams, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 24 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.