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'High alert': The investment scam on social media Aussies are losing millions to

Investment scams are the most dangerous scams for Australians. (Photos: Getty)

Australians are being warned to steer clear of ads on social media platforms that are tricking them into handing over their personal details for fake investments.

Aussies are losing millions of dollars to the scam all up, according to an alert from Stay Smart Online.

“The scam lures you to their fake website by getting you to click on ads in Facebook and other social media platforms,” the alert said.

“The ads work to convince you that they are respected individuals in the community or from popular media programs.”

Unsuspecting visitors to the website are asked to set up an overseas online account and put in a modest initial investment like US $250.

However, the account holder will soon be hounded by phone calls from ‘professionals’ convincing them to invest more money.

“Account-holders are able to log into the account to watch their fake 'investment' grow. In reality, there is no investment and the money is instead going into the scammer’s account,” said Stay Smart Online.

Victims of the scam have been cheated of tens of thousands of dollars, with many losing hundreds to online tricksters. And it only takes a week from when you created the account for your money to be stolen.

What will the scam ask of me?

The scam will ask you for:

  • Your personal information, such as your passport, driver's licence, email and bank account details

  • Remote access to your home computer to set up a digital wallet, for instance

  • Remote access to your computer in order to gain more personal information for ongoing identity theft.

The scammers are also known to become aggressive when victims don’t comply with the requests.

How to spot a fake investment scam

  • Read up first: corporate watchdog ASIC has some tips on the red flags of a fake investment, and also a list of companies you shouldn’t deal with.

  • Never share your personal or banking details with people or entities you don’t trust – and don’t ever give them access to your personal computer.

  • Get a second opinion before you invest or take any action – talk to trusted family and friends, or get independent financial advice.

Investment scams are the most dangerous of all, seeing Aussies $86 million out of pocket last year.

In total, Australians lost nearly half a billion dollars to scammers in 2018, and the black hole is getting bigger every year.

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