ASIC aware of scams targeting Australians to establish SMSFs
People are cold-called or emailed and asked to transfer funds from an existing super account to a new SMSF.
The super balances are instead transferred to bank accounts controlled by scammers!
Be wary of being cold-called or contacted from people promoting SMSFs, particularly with promises of high returns.
Examples of how SMSF rollover scams work
ASIC is aware of scammers persuading investors to establish an SMSF fund and transfer their superannuation balances.
- The scammers contact people by email or a cold call, pretending to be financial advisers, and encourage them to transfer their superannuation into a new SMSF. The investor is often promised high returns of 8% to 20% (or more) per annum;
- To reassure the investor, the scammers use company names, email addresses and websites that are similar to legitimate Australian companies that hold an Australian financial services licence;
- The scammers use a ‘legitimate’ company to ensure the SMSF is properly established and compliant with Australian laws, including the creation of a separate SMSF bank account set up in the investor’s name; and
- The scammers transfer money from the existing super fund, either with or without the knowledge of the investor. They use the identification documents provided to set up the SMSF in an account fully controlled by the scammers.
What to look out for
ASIC warns investors who are contacted by any person or company encouraging them to open an SMSF and move funds, to undertake independent enquires to ensure that the scheme is legitimate.
Always verify who you are dealing with before handing over ID, personal details or money.
Investing in financial products always involves some level of risk, but it is also important to check that investment opportunities are legitimate before investing.
If a company contacts you to offer investment opportunities, be cautious. It could be a scam.
Be wary about providing your personal identification documents to people you don’t know. Red flags include things like the website disappearing, speaking to different people who have the same voice, and changing email addresses and contact details.
Some scammers copy legitimate websites and use names lifted from the internet.
For more information about investment scams and what to look out for, see Moneysmart’s investment scams page.
ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. If you are uncertain or would like professional advice, please call the Salisburys team in Albury NSW on 02 6041 3014.