ASIC issues scam warning

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has warned Australian investors about emails that enticed them into scams and get-rich-quick schemes.

Peter Kell, executive director of consumer protection at ASIC, told a seminar --Financial Literacy: An Australian Priority -- that in the past few months unlicensed offshore stockbrokers had re-emerged in the marketplace. “They are cold calling and emailing Australian investors offering shares,” Kell said.

He also warned that some of these “offshore cold callers” were targeting people who had low value shares bought a couple of years ago, offering to swap them for other shares. “Once the investor becomes interested, the cold caller asks for extra money, sometimes for fees and sometimes for options to get extra shares to close the detail,” according to an ASIC statement.

Kell warned that once this extra money was sent offshore it could be lost forever.

In addition, ASIC was also warning consumers about overpriced start-up companies and share trading get rich quick schemes. Among its suggestions, ASIC urged consumers to not be fooled by business-like websites, or email offers made by strangers. 

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