Original media release by ASIC (8/11/2023).
ASIC has today strengthened its scam prevention tools to support consumers with the publication of a new investor alert list. Consumers can use this list to help inform themselves as to whether an entity they are considering investing in could be fraudulent, a scam or unlicensed.
‘Unlicensed and imposter investment opportunities cause serious financial and non-financial harm, significantly eroding consumer trust and confidence,’ said Deputy Chair Sarah Court. ‘There are bad actors out there, and while we can’t avoid being targeted, having access to the right information can help consumers better protect themselves.’
The new investor alert list replaces the previous Companies you should not deal with list and includes domestic and international entities ASIC is concerned are operating and offering services to Australians without appropriate licenses, exemptions, authorisation or permission. It also includes “impostor” entities, which are entities that impersonate or falsely claim to be associated with a legitimate business (also known as impersonation scams).
ASIC has also updated its investor checklist which provides consumers important information on what steps they can take before investing.
‘At launch, our investor alert list includes 52 unlicensed entities and 25 websites impersonating legitimate entities,’ said Ms Court.
ASIC will continue to add to this list, but it is not exhaustive. There will be websites or entities that do not appear on this list that may be engaging in scam behaviour of which ASIC is not aware.
‘ASIC is calling on industry and consumers to assist us in identifying suspicious investment websites by reporting them to Scamwatch to assist our investigations and actions,’ added Ms Court.
If you’ve seen a suspicious website and you think it might be an investment scam, find out how to report an investment scam by following the link. If you are unsure of the nature of the scam, please report it to scamwatch.gov.au.
ASIC will be publishing a series of articles as part of an Alert Investor campaign to help consumers make sound investment decisions and understand what resources they can leverage. ASIC has also updated its check before you invest page with the latest resources, registers, and material to review prior to making investment decisions.
ASIC’s publication of this new list coincides with the National Anti-Scam Centre’s ongoing work coordinating the investment scam fusion cell combatting the growing problem of investment scams. This fusion cell, led by ASIC and the ACCC, will identify methods for disrupting investment scams.
ASIC’s investor alert list is part of the government’s Fighting Scams initiative to address scams and online fraud to protect Australians from financial harm. The initiative also supports the work of the National Anti-Scams Centre (NASC), which commenced operations on 1 July 2023. The National Anti-Scam Centre will coordinate government, law enforcement and private sector initiatives to combat scams.