Scams and Bunnies

The ACCC are out and about warning Australians about getting scammed with this article – Beware investment wolves knocking at the door – They are using this graphic saying $4.3 million is being lost by Australians a month:


I have a friend, a successful and intelligent man, who once sent $50,000 to the Philippines. I have another who recently contacted a company in Panama to trade forex. Sent them $20,000. During the entrapment stage he got one call from the big knob in the USA who talked to him about currency options for 98 minutes. The big knob yank talked for 96 of them. He then got a recording in which a woman asked him to confirm he had not been pressured into sending his money. Days later he was getting emails telling him the $20,000 position they had opened on his behalf was well in the money but the position was in US dollars not Aussie dollars and that they needed the other $16,000 before they could sell.

I was running at the weekend with a friend who had lost tens of thousands investing in property through an accountant – his family had lost half a million dollars in the same investment. It sounded a little like a Ponzi scheme with 50% returns initially dropping to 20% until eventually it disappeared somewhere. He spoke about it in hushed tones and this is one of the very powerful supports of scams, nobody wants to admit to being caught by them.

So let’s get this clear, once and for all. If you ever ever ever find yourself on a cold call from a yank in Panama you are in the process of being royally rodgered.

It is estimated that one in twenty Australians are caught by scams. If you have money you are a target. The Philippines scam was known for hooking into wealthy Australians by targeting businesses with a surname in their name and calling to speak to Mr “Surname”. One story has them ringing a particularly promising Australian prospect and when the phone was answered “David Jones” the bold trickster led off with “Hi Dave”. Presumably they would ring Harvey Norman and say “Hi Harvey”, or Robert Fleming and say “Hi Bob”.

So let’s go over a few pointers for any aspiring Australian bunnies:

  • Cold calling. Lets face it, if someone has to spread their net so wide that they have to cold call a random Australian to sell a guaranteed money making method, whatever it is, you don’t want it.
  • Cold calling you a second time. You should be ashamed. It means you made their “Rich Australian Dill” list on the first call.
  • Yanks. For some reason we seem to be more impressed by an American accent. “Your bad” as my twelve year old would say.
  • The Big Knob. What should go through your head if some big wig jet setting boss of a minion gets on the phone and talks to you about currency options for 98 minutes? I’ll tell you. “Alarm! Alarm!”
  • Sounding professional. Of course they do. When you can lie, being regulated, approved and properly licensed is a doddle.
  • Infrastructure. If all you have is voices on the phone and a website, it’s not enough. A fourteen year old can build a more impressive website than the Bank of England these days. No substance no sale.
  • High returns. Any financial market veteran can tell you that financial products sell on dreams. Even legitimate products sell on dreams. Conjuring up imaginary futures then presenting you with a place to sign. Selling transformation is a technique, it is a lie and it is simply designed to get a sale. If high returns were possible, reliable or happening, no one would ever need “investors”, there would never be recession and inflation wouldn’t be 29% not 2.9%.
  • Low risk. Of course it is!
  • In a rush. Of course they are. They have to get you before you Google them.
  • It’s not much. When it comes to the close a common ploy is to ask you for a lot more money than you expect. $100,000 is usual, as a “minimum”. Setting that expectation pricks your pride, prods your bravado and insults your $5,000. So you up it to $20,000 and comment that you have a lot more if it goes well. Now you’ve told them what you’ve got to fritter. Now they know everything, although I can tell you, when they’re on 100% commissions they’ll take anything. They’ll take $10 if you offer it.
  • International. Most scams are run from abroad. Of course they are. They wouldn’t wash coming from Wayne in Bega. It also makes them impossible to track down, and quite honestly if they can persuade a complete stranger to send their money to “Bob” in “Tonkawani” its not really a crime is it. It’s an amusement. The crime is sending it.

Honestly, there are so many opportunities to make and lose money legitimately in Australia you really don’t need to buy into the unlikely from the unknown. The miracle going on out there is not the returns, it’s that there are still some bunnies in Australia that take it seriously when a yank calls up and says “Hi Bob”.

The ACCC have a very well developed scam reporting website. Click below:

Source: Marcus Today