Australians warned of dangers of cold-call investment frauds

Australians are being warned about the dangers of cold call investment fraud with more than $50 million scammed from Australians every year.

“The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), Queensland Police Service (QPS), Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) have joined forces today because we are concerned that Australians are still being defrauded by organised criminals who are operating very sophisticated and targeted scams,” CCC Chairman Alan MacSporran said in a press conference on Monday morning.

CCC Chairman MacSporran says cold call investment fraud or boiler room fraud syndicates prey on people all over Australia in sophisticated scams, however often target males, aged 50-years-old and over, who are well educated and have a high income.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


“These syndicates are not run by by dodgy salesmen, they’re controlled by master manipulators who regularly prey on people from all over Australia,” he said.

“Cold-call investment fraud, also known as boiler room fraud, is a type of organised crime in which a group of criminals set up an elaborate façade of legitimate business to defraud people by getting them to invest in opportunities and companies that do not deliver as promised.”

CCC Chairman MacSporran said people are often lured into investing their hard earned money with it never to be seen again.

“The fraud involves a person receiving an unsolicited contact, usually a telephone call out of the blue or an email, connecting them with a salesperson. The salesperson builds rapport with the investor, using various techniques designed to induce the person to invest in what is claimed to be a highly profitable money-making venture.

“The investment opportunity is of course fraudulent and there is no possibility that it will ever deliver the promised results. Once the criminal group has obtained money from a number of investors, they shut down the particular company, with the investor often losing all the money they handed over.

In 2016, the CCC and the QPS launched Operation Sterling following the discovery of 11 cold-call fraud operations and criminal organisations on the Gold Coast, in Brisbane and overseas

Over 10 years, these 11 syndicates have defrauded more than $175 million from people, with most of it occurring since 2010.

Authorities are desperately pleading for Australians to protect themselves from these scams and urging the community to hang up on unsolicited telephone calls offering “too good to be true” investments.