We recently drew attention to a new type of scam where sophisticated fraudsters, pretending to work for real companies, are targeting Australian investors with fake investment products.
Our Smart Investing article followed a warning in late January from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) about the rise of "imposter bond" investment offers that claim to deliver secure, high-yield returns.
The fraudsters have designed professional looking fake websites using real company logos, to capture personal information such as phone, email and bank details.
They then make contact directly and offer to email a fake investment prospectus document in order to trick people into investing their money.
Phishing is the term used to describe fraudulent attempts to illegally obtain sensitive information or data, usually via fake websites or emails.
Vanguard has now become aware of a phishing campaign being operated through a fraudulent comparison website that's targeting people online. The website includes a fake investment offer from Vanguard.
People providing personal contact information are then being phoned, with the caller offering to email a pretend Vanguard prospectus.
We're alerting people to this scam via our websites and investor portal, through our phone support, and advising anyone impacted on steps to take if you've shared any personal information.
Vanguard's IT security systems have not been compromised in any way by this issue and our priority is to warn investors of the scam and assist those who have been impacted.
If you suspect you've transferred any money to a third party in relation to this scam you should immediately contact police, and contact your bank to stop direct debit transactions if you've shared any banking details.
It's also important to alert major credit bureaus such as Equifax and Experian to place a block on your credit profile to stop others from opening accounts using your personal information.
Our teams are working closely with authorities and industry partners to identify and remove the bogus website and to provide information from official sources, such as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's ScamWatch, on how to stay safe online.
Some of the common tactics being used by the "imposter bond" scammers include:
As noted in our previous article, just taking a few basic precautions will go a long way to ensuring you don't get caught up in a scam.
Ignore all unsolicited approaches to invest in a financial product, even if they come via people pretending to be from a well-known company or a government authority.
Keep in mind that Vanguard never sends email or text messages with clickable links asking you to verify or provide personal information such as your account or login details.
There are many ways to greatly reduce your chances of ever being tempted into a scam.
The ScamWatch website should be your first port of call to check out everything to do with investment scams, including news and alerts of current activities.
Also check ASIC's extensive Moneysmart list of companies you should not deal with.
By Tony Kaye, Senior Personal Finance Writer, Vanguard Australia
16 Mar, 2021
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