High levels of super attract investment fraud

Self-funded retirees and small business owners are just some of the characteristics of investors who are most likely to become victims of investment fraud, according to a new anti-fraud survey.

The International Organization of Securities Commissions' (IOSCO) report found in Australia victims were also most likely to include middle-aged to older people, male, individuals who have previously made investments in other companies, people who are on shareholder registers, and/or socially isolated individuals.

Similarly, in the UK 70 per cent of victims were male, and in Japan 83 per cent of individuals who contacted a securities call centre for scams were 60 years or older.

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The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) found that organised criminal groups are attracted to high levels of superannuation and retirement savings as the economy is known to have been less affected by the global financial crisis.

However, the survey found many respondents indicated that anti-fraud messaging strategy was an area that needed to be worked on.

"Because fraud is always evolving we need to evolve our messages and outreach accordingly," the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said.

The report noted the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) works with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) through the ScamWatch website that provides information on types of scams, how individuals can protect themselves, and how to report a scam.

"ASIC's MoneySmart website warns people, among other things, to watch out for investment offers that promise high, quick returns with 'no risk,' or inside information and discounts for early bird investors, and reminds people that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is," ASIC said in the report.

However, the ACC have noted that victims of investment frauds may be embarrassed and unwilling to report their loss leading to under-reporting, hampering authorities to prevent further fraudulent activity.

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