Scam alert: Scammers are using fake warning banners on imposter websites

ASIC sends a warning to consumers after seeing an increase in the number of imposter scam websites with digital warning banners pretending to be associated with a legitimate Australian company, often an Australian Financial Services Licensee.

These fake warning banners usually contain a phone number which consumers are encouraged to call to check that they are dealing with the genuine company, however the phone number leads consumers to the scammers instead. The websites may also suggest consumers report scams to police, ASIC and Scamwatch.

Increasingly, scammers steal the details of real Australian companies when they register their websites. This means the details of the real registered company appear on the fake website in the registrant details.

ASIC has also seen an increase in fake news articles on popular sites, which are in fact paid promotional content. This content often leads back to imposter websites.

The contact details on the impersonation website are often different to the details found in the ASIC registers and/or on the Australian Financial Complains Authority (AFCA) website for the Australian Financial Services Licensee.

Warning signs and how to check
A scammer may use a phoney scam warning banner on their fake website. Some websites can look professional and legitimate, so it’s important to slow down and do some checks.

It can be very hard to identify fake websites so it’s important to be very careful when considering making investments.
Don’t give personal information or act on investment advice you have come across on a suspicious looking website or social media post.
Don’t feel pressured to invest.
If you have any doubts, stop communicating with them.
Beware of fake news articles or fake paid content promotion directing you back to the scam website. Study the URL and don’t click on suspicious links.
Independently verify who you are dealing with.
Check company details through open-source searches and on the legitimate company website.
Look up ASIC’s investor alert list to help keep you informed about investments that could be fraudulent, a scam or unlicensed.
Inspect ASIC’s professional register to see if the licensee is authorised to provide services to retail clients.
For the Australian Financial Services Licensee, check the Australian Financial Complains Authority (AFCA) website.
Check the phone number is real and only call the number if you have been able to independently verify it is a number for the genuine company.
Check before you invest.
Check that the company offering the investment is licensed with ASIC.
Make sure you understand what they are offering.
Check if it’s real – and that it’s not a scam.
Know your rights if things go wrong.

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