ASIC Releases Alert to the Public: Beware of Fraudulent Use of ASIC Branding on Social Media

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has recently issued a critical alert regarding scams that misuse its branding on social media platforms. These fraudulent schemes are designed to deceive individuals by promoting fake investment opportunities, stock market trading courses, and even impersonating ASIC representatives through various means such as cold calling and fake social media accounts, including Telegram.

Recently, there have been numerous reports of deceptive advertisements for a ‘Stock Trading Master Class’ on social media, displaying the ASIC logo and falsely claiming sponsorship by ASIC. These ads direct users to a private WhatsApp group named Lonton Wealth Management Center, an entity now listed on ASIC’s Investor Alert List. Additionally, scammers are making cold calls, pretending to be from ASIC, offering help with investment refunds, a practice ASIC does not engage in. Another concerning tactic involves a fake Telegram account impersonating ASIC, soliciting money from investors to release supposed investment funds held in Australia.

How to Protect Yourself from ASIC Branding Scams

To protect yourself effectively, it is important to ensure that any financial product or service claiming ASIC’s endorsement is verified through ASIC’s official channels. This means checking ASIC’s website or contacting them directly to confirm the authenticity of any endorsement claims. Be cautious of advertisements using the ASIC logo to promote financial services or products, as ASIC does not endorse or sponsor any private financial product or training course. Additionally, avoid engaging with any entity claiming a direct relationship with ASIC, especially if they direct you to newly created social media accounts with little to no post history.

By thoroughly verifying the legitimacy of such claims and being cautious of entities with questionable online profiles, you can better protect yourself from falling victim to these scams.

If you suspect you have encountered a scam or have been targeted by fraudulent activities, it is important to act quickly to mitigate potential damage and protect your personal and financial information. Here are some key steps to take:

  1. If you come across suspicious advertisements, do not click on them. Instead, scroll past, delete, or refresh your browser to avoid further interaction with the fraudulent content.
  2. Report the fraudulent advertisements to the social media platform where you encountered them. Most platforms have reporting mechanisms to address such issues.
  3. If you have been targeted, stop any further payments immediately and block all contact from the scammer to prevent additional losses.
  4. Contact your financial institution right away if you believe you have been scammed. They can assist in protecting your accounts and preventing unauthorised transactions.
  5. Contact IDCARE, a free government-funded service, for assistance if your identity has been compromised.
  6. Be cautious of any follow-up scams that may attempt to recover your lost money. Scammers often use this tactic to exploit victims further.
  7. File a report with Scamwatch, managed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This helps authorities track and address fraudulent activities.
  8. Warn your family and friends to prevent further victimisation. Sharing information can help protect others from similar fraudulent schemes.

Stay vigilant and always verify any suspicious financial offers or communications. For more detailed information and guidance, please visit ASIC’s official website. If you have concerns about scams or need advice on securing your investments, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact us.

Kreston Stanley Williamson

*Correct as of 19 June 2024

*Disclaimer – Kreston Stanley Williamson has produced this article to serve its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas in this article, you must seek advice about your circumstances. Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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