Would you buy a trading options scheme if it was recommended by James Packer, Bill Gates and Air Asia’s CEO Tony Fernandes?
Well you’d certainly think about it, right?
The one we are thinking about is called binary options trading – for the uninitiated (most of us) that’s about betting forward on what a share price will be.
The ad quotes Mr Packer as saying: : “It’s even dangerous to talk about it, because the powerful elite does not want the average Australian to have this much wealth. Because the wealthier the population is, the less power they themselves have. They hate me for sharing this!”
Sound like a James Packer quote? We don’t think so either.
Mr Packer is suing.
But if this working, it’s clearly time to reviews the scams that Australians often fall for.
In 2015, we lost a collective $229 million to scammers, according to the government website Scamwatch
Actually, that is probably the tip of the iceberg because, as Scamwatch says, many people are too embarrassed to come forward and report they have been scammed.
So here are the best of the worst:
• Cold calls from someone telling you they are stockbroker or financial adviser, in which they offer you investment advice usually around putting your money in an offshore company or real-estate scheme. These people probably sound credible, and are persistent. If you spend time talking to them once, they will probably be back on the phone to try you again until you say yes.
• Hot tips on shares. These scams are pushed by people who want to ramp a particular stock by spreading the word that its about to increase rapidly in value. They will use email and investor forums to push this. Their aim is to push the shares higher and then sell out, leaving everyone else holding shares which are falling just as fast, or faster, than they went up.
• Superannuation scams. This is where someone contacts you and says they have a bullet proof way of getting money out of your super account, if you follow their advice. They will concoct a story for you about extreme financial hardship and if they are successful will ensure that your super fund pays the money into their account. From there, they will either disappear completely or charge you a stiff fee for their “service.”
• The pyramid scheme is one of the oldest going around, and it has been so successful through the centuries that people are still using it. You can be recruited into a pyramid scheme by various means, but they are all the same at the core: they rely on the money from the new members to pay out the people at the top of the pyramid. This is fine until the pyramid collapses and people at the bottom lose their money. These scammers often get people at the top of the pyramid to recruit their family and friends, so these collapses often leave a trail of broken relationships as well as lost money.
• We have to mention the age-old “Nigerian Scam” which originated in Nigeria but now comes from anywhere. This is where you get an email or letter with a convoluted story that you are heir to a hidden fortune, or asking for your help through using your bank account to release a huge amount of money trapped in a foreign bank account by a civil war or a coup. Once you give them your account details they can start to siphon your account, or they might ask for fees and charges as a way of getting the “trapped” money out. Needless to say, these huge sums they are promising do not exist.