Scam alert: Scammers are using fake warning banners on imposter websites


INSIGHT
Published
Mar 21st '24
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KEY POINTS:

  • ASIC is alerting consumers to an increase in imposter scam websites with fake warning banners impersonating legitimate financial service businesses.
  • Warning banners are intended to trick consumers into believing they are dealing with the legitimate website of a real Australian company or Australian Financial Services Licensee when in fact, they are dealing with an imposter site.
  • Consumers should be aware of signs of a scam including fake news articles that link back to these impersonation sites and should learn how to check if a website is fake.

 

ASIC sends a warning to consumers after seeing an increase in the number of imposter scam websites with digital warning banners pretending to be associated with a legitimate Australian company, often an Australian Financial Services Licensee.

 

These fake warning banners usually contain a phone number which consumers are encouraged to call to check that they are dealing with the genuine company, however the phone number leads consumers to the scammers instead. The websites may also suggest consumers report scams to police, ASIC and Scamwatch.

 

Increasingly, scammers steal the details of real Australian companies when they register their websites. This means the details of the real registered company appear on the fake website in the registrant details.

 

ASIC has also seen an increase in fake news articles on popular sites, which are in fact paid promotional content. This content often leads back to imposter websites.

 

The contact details on the impersonation website are often different to the details found in the ASIC registers and/or on the Australian Financial Complains Authority (AFCA) website for the Australian Financial Services Licensee.

 

Warning signs and how to check

A scammer may use a phoney scam warning banner on their fake website. Some websites can look professional and legitimate, so it’s important to slow down and do some checks.

 

STOP

  • It can be very hard to identify fake websites so it’s important to be very careful when considering making investments.
  • Don’t give personal information or act on investment advice you have come across on a suspicious looking website or social media post.
  • Don’t feel pressured to invest.
  • If you have any doubts, stop communicating with them.

 

THINK

  • Beware of fake news articles or fake paid content promotion directing you back to the scam website. Study the URL and don’t click on suspicious links.
  • Independently verify who you are dealing with.
    • Check company details through open-source searches and on the legitimate company website.
    • Look up ASIC’s investor alert list to help keep you informed about investments that could be fraudulent, a scam or unlicensed.
    • Inspect ASIC’s professional register to see if the licensee is authorised to provide services to retail clients.
    • For the Australian Financial Services Licensee, check the Australian Financial Complains Authority (AFCA) website.
    • Check the phone number is real and only call the number if you have been able to independently verify it is a number for the genuine company.

 

PROTECT

  • Check before you invest.
    • Check that the company offering the investment is licensed with ASIC.
    • Make sure you understand what they are offering.
    • Check if it’s real – and that it’s not a scam.
    • Know your rights if things go wrong.

 

Follow the steps on Check before you invest – Moneysmart.gov.au

 

Examples of imposter scam websites with fake warning banners

 

Example 1: Fake scam warning banner

Fake scam warning banner

Example 2: Fake scam warning banner

Fake scam warning banner

Example 3: Fake scam website

Fake scam website

Think you have been scammed?

If you think you’ve been scammed, take these steps fast:

 

  1. Do not send any more money. Block all contact from the scammer.
  2. Contact your bank or financial institution to report the scam. Ask them to stop any transactions.
  3. Warn your family and friends about the scam.
  4. Be wary of follow-up scams promising to help get your money back.
  5. Report it to Scamwatch to help stop the scammer.

 

Go to what to do if you’ve been scammed for more detailed steps.

 

Further support

If you need talk to someone, contact:

 

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their web chat

 

If you are experiencing problems with debt, contact:

 

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm) or chat online

 

Related information

ASIC has previously issued consumer warnings regarding imposter bond scamsQantas bondsTelstra bondshigh interest depositsfake green bonds, and Treasury bonds.

 

Source: © Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). Reproduced with permission.

 

About ASIC

ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.

 

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