ASIC to Consumers: Hang up on super cold callers

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ASIC urges you to hang up on cold callers and scroll past social media click bait offering to help you compare and switch super funds.

How super cold calling works

Cold callers often use high pressure sales tactics to convince you to buy a product or sign up to a service. Their tactics include making exaggerated claims, using emotional manipulation, and creating a false sense of urgency.

Cold callers can get your contact details in a range of ways, including by:

  • Running competitions for things like phones or gift cards
  • Buying your data
  • Getting you to use their own comparison websites where you input your details.

A typical superannuation cold calling experience includes:

  • A call from someone you don’t know to see if you ‘qualify’ for a free review of your superannuation
  • Contact from a cold caller, who convinces you your existing super fund is not performing
  • A statement of advice (SOA) prepared by a financial advice firm the cold caller has an existing arrangement with
  • ‘Cookie cutter’ advice that is expensive, often unnecessary, doesn’t consider your individual needs, and may leave you in a worse position.

The cold caller may benefit by getting a cut of the financial advice fees, which are deducted from your superannuation balance. You could end up paying for advice that may not even be right for you.

What to do if you’re contacted by a cold caller

Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t know. And if you’re stuck on a cold call, know that you can just hang up.

If you have given personal information about your superannuation or banking details to a cold caller, contact your existing super fund or bank immediately and ask them to not allow any withdrawals.

Stop all contact with the cold caller by blocking their number and limit the calls you receive by joining the Do Not Call register.

Social media click bait – how it works

If you’ve seen posts on your social media feed questioning whether your super is performing or encouraging you to compare your super fund, be careful.

Similar to how cold callers use pushy sales tactics over the phone, there are some businesses that try to grab your attention on social media before they try to sell you their services.

To avoid getting hooked, just scroll past them. Or to get them off your feed, opt to ‘see less’ of these posts or block them using the settings within your social media apps.

Getting financial advice about your super

Quality financial advice is typically provided over weeks, not days. So when it comes to your super, be wary of pushy sales tactics such as cold calling or social media click bait that rushes your decision-making.

If you have received advice that you believe was not appropriate for you, lodge a complaint with the business that provided the advice. See How to complain.

If you’re thinking about making changes to your super, start by doing your own research, contact your existing super fund, and consider using a licenced financial adviser.

Above is an article from ASIC’s Moneysmart website, originally published 29/04/2024. You can find the original article, along with related links on other super and financial matters, here (