Scammers take the money and run
West Australians looking to make some fast cash are suffering large losses after being scammed by fake companies and websites spruiking investment opportunities.
Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said local investors were being lured into binary options trading, which was regarded as a speculative, high-risk investment and involved predicting the movements of commodity, asset or index prices over a short period of time.
"While this form of trading is a legitimate financial product offered by licensed firms, scammers are now entering this area and successfully taking money from investors," Mr Mischin said.
"Potential investors respond to ads and are contacted over the phone, where they are lured by the promise of making huge profits. The websites look very professional and accounts are set up in the investor's name showing healthy gains, which prompts further investments.
"Investors only realise that they've been scammed when they are unable to withdraw their funds and the people they are dealing with become difficult to contact. The 'account' is then closed and their money is gone.
"So far this year, 21 WA investors have reported to WA ScamNet of losing a total of more than $240,000 to binary options scams. Nationally, Australians have lost a total of $3 million in 2016 according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission."
The Minister issued a particular warning about various websites operated by a bogus business called 'The Aussie Method', after one investor recently lost $10,500.
The websites include Aussiemethodsystem.com; Aussiemethod.co; Aussie-method.trading-software.co; Ausmethod.com; Ausmillionare.com; Ausmillionaires.com; Ausmethodmillionaire.com; Ausmethodsystem.com; Ausmethod.net and Aussiemethodapp.com
Mr Mischin said Facebook pages associated with 'The Aussie Method' had been closed and attempts were being made by Consumer Protection to have the websites closed down as well.
"Be wary of any investment which offers a high return with little risk and get independent financial advice before committing," he said.
"Only use operators with an Australian Financial Services licence or are authorised by an AFS licensee and also check on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website to make sure the business is not on their blacklist."
- WA investors who have given money to 'The Aussie Method' should contact Consumer Protection at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54
- Advice from ASIC on binary options and other investments is available here
- ACCC binary options warning is available here
- More information on scams is available at http://www.scamnet.wa.gov.au
Minister's office - 6552 5600
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