- Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is alerting investors about an entity named ‘Validus’, which is offering a suspicious investment ‘opportunity’ through the websites: https://teamsvalidus.com/; https://validus-team-official.com/ and https://www.validus.click/start-validus, as well as their Facebook Group ‘Validus Australia’.
- The operators of Validus do not have an Australian financial services (AFS) licence.
- Do not deal with, or transfer money to this entity.
Validus is promoting investments to Australians that promise a 300% return. These returns are alleged to be generated by professional traders who trade in crypto, forex and other financial products using pooled funds.
Why ASIC is concerned
- Validus appears to be operating a financial services business in a manner that is likely to attract Australians to invest in its financial services. However, it is not licensed to provide financial services in Australia, which means customers will not be protected when things go wrong.
- The returns promised by Validus are unrealistic. Treat exorbitant rates of return with extreme caution.
- Validus accepts crypto-assets as payment. Consumers do not have the same protections as they would if they paid by other means, such as transferring funds to an Australian bank account.
- Validus encourages investors to recruit new investors into the scheme. This is a classical sign of a pyramid scheme.
What to do if you have invested through Validus
- Do not send any more money.
- Report it to your financial institution. If you are not happy with your financial institution’s response, you can make a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
- Be wary of secondary scams or money recovery services that may offer to help you get your money back for a fee.
- Contact IDCARE, a free government-funded service, which can help to develop a specific response plan if your identity has been compromised. IDCARE will never contact you out of the blue.
- You do not need to lodge a report with ASIC as we have sufficient information at this stage. ASIC is unable to assist in recovering your money.
For more detailed steps, see what to do if you’ve been scammed.
For further information about investment scams visit ASIC’s Moneysmart website which includes checks that can be undertaken to see if an investment offer is genuine. However, keep in mind that these checks do not guarantee the legitimacy of a product.
If you need someone to talk to, 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 webchat.
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.
- ACCC Scamwatch
- The Financial Markets Authority has issued a warning that Validus has been operating in New Zealand in breach of their financial markets legislation (FMA Warning).
- How crypto scams work – Moneysmart
ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.
Source: © Australian Securities & Investments Commission. Reproduced with permission.
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