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‘Sophisticated’ scam targets wannabe traders

Scammers are posing as the corporate regulator. Images: Getty

Scammers impersonating the banking watchdog are asking victims to hand over sensitive personal information in what has been described as a “sophisticated” scam.

The investment scam targets Australians keen to trade stocks, foreign exchange and cryptocurrencies.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is warning Australians about fraudsters claiming to be from ASIC and acting in connection with Luxembourg Offshore Banking, which they present as associated with a company in Australia.

However, Luxembourg Offshore Banking is operated overseas and its activities are scams, ASIC said.

Luxembourg Offshore Banking will offer a fake investment program called ExpertKonek to victims. ExpertKonek is purportedly offered through an online trading platform relating to foreign exchange, cryptocurrencies and foreign exchange.

In order to activate the ‘trading account’, victims are prompted to hand over passport photocopies and proof of address like utility bills.

To prop up the fraud, the scammers pretend that withdrawals are being processed or withheld by ASIC.

“These are sophisticated scams convincing people to part with their money and provide personal information,” ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes said.

“The public need to be extremely cautious of these scams and contact their financial institution if they believe their money may be at risk.”

ASIC said anyone who has received unexpected contact of this sort should hang up or delete the email and block the sender.

If you believe your bank account or personal details have been compromised you should also contact your financial institution immediately.

Horror month for scams continues

This scam is only the latest in a long line this month.

Just last week scammers demanding bitcoin payments and threatening to detonate bombs triggered international havoc.

Government agency, Scamwatch is also warning of scammers targeting Aussies keen to find Christmas bargains. Scammers are building fake shopping websites and also offering holidays that are just too good to be true.

Scammers posing as the Australian Tax Office also continue to wreak mayhem after swindling taxpayers out of $800,000 in November.

These scammers call victims to demand the payment of fake tax debts while threatening jail or heavy fines for non-payment.

“It’s OK to hang up and phone us on 1800 008 540 to check if the call was legitimate or to report a scam,” ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson said.

“While phone scams are the most common at the moment, scammers are constantly changing tactics. Taxpayers should still beware of unsolicited emails and SMS, with more than 6,000 people handing over their personal or financial information to scammers since July this year.”

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