June 17, 2024
ASIC caught up in social media scam

The corporate regulator has issued a warning that its logo is being misused to perpetuate a social media scam promoting fake investment.

ASIC said it received a number of reports about social media advertisements that promote a “Stock Trading Master Class” and display the ASIC logo. They also stated the class is sponsored or endorsed by ASIC which is untrue.

When consumers click on the ad, they are subsequently taken to a private WhatsApp group. The group is called Lonton Wealth Management, an unlicensed entity that ASIC placed on its alert list last month. 

There are also two further examples of ASIC being misused in the form of an impersonation Telegram account asking investors for money and in the form of cold calls attempting to engage consumers in obtaining a refund on their investment. 

“ASIC is also aware of repeated cold calls from persons claiming to be from ASIC attempting to engage with consumers in obtaining a refund on an investment. This is a concern as ASIC does not cold call consumers about investments or refunds on investments.

“In addition, ASIC has also become aware of an impersonation account on Telegram, pretending to be an ASIC social media account. The operators of this account are asking investors for money to release their investment funds held in Australia.”

ASIC flagged to consumers: 

  • ASIC does not maintain a Telegram account.
  • ASIC will never ask for money as upfront taxes or payments to release investments held in Australia.
  • Entities that engage with consumers through private social media groups may be attempting to conceal their true identity.

Anyone who receives a message like this is reminded to check criteria such as whether the entity claims to be “supported” or “sponsored” by ASIC, whether a course is endorsed by ASIC, whether it refers to user to a third-party site or it directs them to a social media site, especially if the profile looks to be created recently.

Any fake profiles can be reported to the platform and to Australia’s Scamwatch. ASIC said it is actively working with the National Anti-Scam Centre and social media platforms to remove the advertisements.

According to Scamwatch, some $476 million was lost to scams in 2023, and it received 301, 765 reports from consumers. More than half of this, $291 million, was lost via investment scams.

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