Smart scammers try to make themselves appear legitimate as a way to suck you in. They’ll use official sounding names, even names that are very similar to real companies.
In fact I had some scammers copy my e-mail newsletter template to send their spam. So their message looked very legitimate.
The Australian regulator, ASIC have compiled a very useful list of companies you should not deal with. It includes a list of official sounding overseas investment regulators and exchanges that are actually fake.
If you’ve been contacted with an offer that seems attractive:
- Get all of their contact details including registered business name, website address, physical address and phone number.
- Ask them to post a hard copy of their Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG). Don’t give them your e-mail address.
- Insist you will do nothing right now and instead will call them back after considering the offer.
- Check their business name and ABN are legitimate using the ABN Lookup tool and ASIC registers
- Check the ASIC list of companies you should not deal with
- Report the scam to ASIC
Scammers will of course provide very serious resistance to steps 1 through 3 so that alone could be a big indicator to go no further.
I also recommend you read my article about protecting yourself from identity theft.