Australian consumers warned of new ASIC phone call scam

Alison Banney 2 May 2017

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Scammers are cold-calling Australians pretending to be the corporate regulator and asking for bank details.

Consumers should be cautious of any out-of-the-blue phone calls or emails they receive from someone claiming to be from The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and asking for funds, as it is likely to be a scam.

Individuals from overseas are cold-calling Australian consumers and claiming that their investment proceeds have been stopped by ASIC and are being held in a trust. The scammer then asks the consumer to provide access to further funds while their profits are being held in a trust by ASIC, requesting bank details and personal information.

ASIC is not responsible for these requests and it urges anyone who receives a random phone call or email of this nature to hang up or delete the email and block the sender. If you believe you have already been a victim of this scam, you are urged to contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

“Once the money paid to these callers goes overseas, it is almost impossible to recover," ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said. "We strongly urge consumers to be wary of these scams and to be extremely cautious of any follow-up communication."

“These scams are constantly evolving and scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to convince unsuspecting consumers.”

Just last week a fake flashlight app targeting Android users and stealing bank details was uncovered.

To protect yourself from these scams, it's important to be extremely vigilant with your bank details. Government departments and financial institutions would never request your personal details by unsolicited email or text message.

You can never be too wary of scams. If you’re unsure, check with your financial institution before providing any personal information. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

In other news, ASIC is currently holding over $1 billion in unclaimed cash and some of it could be yours. This is definitely not a scam and you can see if you're entitled to any by checking the MoneySmart website.

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