Sadly, there are scammers (aka criminals) who are targeting Australians by trying to steal money from their super. The scammers often gain access to the super by promising to help set up SMSF property investments. So here’s some tips on how to avoid SMSF property scams.
You may have read about SMSF property scams.
As a legitimate company that aims to help hard-working Australians reach their retirement goals faster through SMSF property investing, the scammers give the industry a bad name.
One of our goals is to help investors avoid scams.
If you’re worried about an individual or group right now, contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or go to the government website Scam Watch.
In this article, we’ll detail:
- The type of scams that take place.
- How to spot a scammer.
- How to protect yourself…and your super.
3 Types of Scams
SCAM NO. 1 – THE INVESTMENT SEMINAR
According to the government regulator, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, many seminars have a sting in the tail. You may have received a letter to attend a seminar or you might have seen an advertisement online or in a newspaper. Free tickets to see motivational speakers or an investment “expert” are often used to promote these events.
Seminar promoters “make” their money by charging you a ticket fee to attend…or by selling books, education services, or expensive reports. They might even make misleading or deceptive claims or pressure you into signing up for an investment “on the night”.
SCAM NO. 2 – EARLY RELEASE OF YOUR SUPER
The promoters of these schemes offer easy and early access to your super, often through the use of your SMSF…or for a fee. Here’s the truth: there is no easy way to access your super until you reach your preservation age, which can range from 55 to 60 years old, depending on your year of birth.
Of course, there are exceptions around financial hardship, but the restrictions, rules, and regulations to get access to the money are extraordinary. Your super is for your retirement years…not now.
SCAM NO. 3 – COLD CALLING
You receive a call you didn’t expect. The person making the call is offering you investments with high returns, possibly located overseas. You might be offered free financial advice.
Common investments touted are cheap or foreclosed property deals in the USA or properties in exotic locations such as Bali. The caller might recommend using your super to engage in high risk investments such as Foreign Currency Trading (FOREX), options trading, or dubious stocks.
Remember…if anyone recommends any investment product or products, they must be licensed and provide a written Statement of Advice (SOA).
Warning Signs of a Potential Scam
- Anything that promotes something as free…without a good reason.
- The promise of big returns on your investment—with little or no extra risk.
- Seminars that are free but demand you pay hefty fees for education at the end of the first day or night.
- Investment seminars that offer to teach you “secret” or “exclusive” techniques for building riches.
- High pressure sales people who expect a decision on the spot.
- Companies that claim to be approved by a government body or regulator…without making their licence details available in writing.
6 Ways to Protect Yourself—And Your Super
- Use the common sense approach: when something is free or sounds to good to be true, there is likely something wrong.
- The only people who “get rich quick” in these promotions are the scammers.
- Be careful when friends tell you about a scheme: they (innocently) believe it’s real too.
- Avoid spam email where you did not sign up.
- Check with the appropriate regulator to make sure the promoter is licensed to offer the advice.
- Always make sure you get any financial advice in writing.
PLUS…get a second opinion before making any decisions or signing anything.
If you have questions about SMSF property investing contact us here or call 1300 886 149. You can speak directly with an SMSF specialist…with no obligation. This will give you peace of mind.
To Your Financial Future
Your Friends at SMSF Property Services Australia
P.S. Scammers can look extremely professional and legitimate. But it’s vital to be careful. Speak with us to double check you’re working with a firm that’s real and legal. We’ll answer your questions with no obligation. Go here or call 1300 886 149.