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Investment scams

Reduce the risk of investment scams

Page reading time: 5 minutes

Be suspicious of anyone offering you easy money. Scammers are skilled at convincing you that the investment is real, the returns are high and the risks are low. There's always a catch.

If you think you've been targeted by scammers, act quickly. For steps to take and where to report a scam, see what to do if you've been scammed.

How investment scams work

There are many ways investment scams may appear. Three main examples are:

In any case, the money you 'invest' goes straight into the scammer's bank account and not towards any real investment. It is extremely hard to recover your money if it goes to a scammer based overseas.

Anyone can be scammed, and every scam is different. Scams are often hard to spot and can feel legitimate in the moment. Scammers can use professional-looking websites, advertisements and apps, and impersonate legitimate companies.

Scammers are using deepfake technology to create fake celebrity videos promoting Quantum AI. 

Quantum AI is a fake online investment program. It claims to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology and quantum computing to generate high returns for investors. Fake trading results are displayed on a website manipulated by scammers.

If you see a celebrity spruiking an investment, search online to see if the person has posted warnings about being impersonated.

Spot the signs of a deepfake video:

  • The person speaks with unusual pauses, odd pitches or different accents.
  • Mouth movements aren't in time with their speech.
  • Facial expressions and movements don't match the speaking tone.
  • The video is low resolution.

Do not click on any links promoting Quantum AI, or similar scams such as Immediate Edge and Quantum Trade Wave. Learn more about this scam.

How scammers contact you

Scammers can come from anywhere. The most common approaches are:

What scammers may offer you

A scammer may tell you they're offering:

How scammers convince you

Scammers will look at the latest market and investment trends for opportunities. They often use well-known company names, platforms, and terms (such as 'crypto') to lure investors in and appear credible.

This may include fake:

Beware of scammers offering investments or asking for payment using crypto. A legitimate financial services firm is unlikely to ask you for payment in crypto. Crypto-assets (for example, cryptocurrency) are largely unregulated in Australia and are high-risk, volatile investments.

Payments made using crypto are very difficult to trace and recover. To find out more, see cryptocurrencies.

Other tactics used by investment scammers

Operate from overseas

Investing in overseas companies or through brokers based outside Australia can be risky. If you invest and something goes wrong, you may not have access to important consumer rights and protections under Australian laws.

Convincing you not to pull out of the investment

They may try to swap your current investment for another one, convincing you the value will increase, or threaten you with legal action or fees.

A common tactic is to ask for 'insurance' or 'taxes' before funds invested can be released. This is just another method to extract more money from you.

'Pump and dump' scams

Scammers use social media and online forums to create fake news and excitement in listed stocks to increase (or 'pump') the share price.

Then they sell (or 'dump') their shares and take a profit, leaving the share price to fall. Any other investors are left with low value shares and will lose money. This may be market manipulation which is illegal. 

Protect yourself from investment scams

Investment scams can look very convincing. It may be hard to tell if they're genuine investments or not.

Always use a licensed Australian financial services provider when you invest. Check they are listed on AFCA's financial firm directory

Before you invest your money, check basic facts about what you are investing in and who with. Follow the tips on check before you invest.