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Protecting SMSFs and Investors Against Fraud

In a post global financial crisis world, with low returns from investments and superannuation, many people are worried about their savings lasting through retirement. This has made investors even more vulnerable to fraud.
Organisers of these scams are targeting any person with relatively large amounts of money to invest such as retirees or people nearing retirement (many are often members of SMSFs).
There are a number of key steps investors can take to protect against fraud.
1. Be wary of websites
The websites associated with these scams are just as professional as any website developed by a bank or superannuation fund. They are used to make the organisers investment ‘opportunity’ appear legitimate.
2. Hang up on cold calls
Many of these organisers cold call potential victims and promise to send out documents regarding the ‘opportunity’ they are promoting. If the caller fails to answer simple questions about the company, such as who owns the company and its address, hang up.
3. Do your own checks
People are urged to do their own checks on a company before they deal with them. Companies offering investment products must have an AFSL number. AFS-licensed companies are registered with ASIC. If a company says it does not need an AFS, report them to ASIC.
4. Seek professional advice
Before entering into any investments or borrowing arrangement people should always seek independent professional advice from sources other than the individual or organiser promoting the investment.
5. Protect your identity
People should protect their personal information by not giving out personal, banking or credit card information. All unsolicited emails should be deleted and computers and mobile devices should have current anti-virus software installed.
6. Look out for promotions by mail, door to door, or in shopping centres
Be suspicious of offers that seem too good to be true, including promises to access your superannuation early.  Don’t provide your detailed personal and financial information and don’t commit to something on the spot.
If you have elderly parents or similar, make sure that they are

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