ASIC has delivered a fresh warning to consumers about an increasing number of reports of Aussies losing money after responding to advertisements disguised as fake news articles.
The corporate watchdog said the fake news articles are mostly promoting cryptocurrency, or crypto assets.
Additionally, ASIC said it has seen websites and advertisements falsely using the ASIC logo or misleadingly say the investment is “approved by ASIC”.
“A common tactic used by scammers is to promote fake articles via social media. They look realistic and impersonate real news outlets. Some examples include Forbes Business Magazine, ABC News, Sunrise and The Project,” ASIC said.
“Once consumers click on these advertisements, they are directed to a site that is not linked with the impersonated publication. Then they are asked for their name and contact details.”
ASIC warns that scammers will then follow up by contacting the person who made the enquiry, promising an investment with “unrealistically high returns”.
How to spot a scam
Use of crypto-assets or crypto currency
Crypto-assets are largely unregulated in Australia and are high-risk and volatile investments, ASIC said.
“Do not invest any money in digital currencies that you are not prepared to lose. Seek professional advice when making investment decisions.”
News outlets offering specific investments
The watchdog said that most reputable news outlets do not offer specific investments as part of their news coverage.
Use of ASIC’s logo
ASIC does not endorse particular investments. The regulator said Aussies should be wary of any website or advert which states the investment is approved by ASIC.
Additionally, ASIC said that any investment that contains ASIC’s logo is a scam.
“ASIC does not authorise businesses to use its name and branding to promote themselves,” it said.
What to do if you think you have been scammed
ASIC said many of these scams originate overseas and once money has left Australia, it is extremely hard to recover.
If you transferred funds via bank transfer or credit card, you should contact your financial institution as they may be able to reverse the transaction.
If you have paid scammers via crypto-assets, your bank or credit union won’t be able to assist.
“Your report will assist us in disrupting scammers and warning others,” ASIC said.