Bunbury woman loses $670,000 to scams

A Bunbury woman has lost $670,000 after being scammed by a fake investment scheme.

The scammers used an image of mining entrepreneur Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest to promote their platform.

The woman made six payments to bank accounts in Australia and Germany, as well as a credit card account, after finding the investment scheme promoted on Facebook and LinkedIn in March 2019. 

The woman felt secure about investing after the online trading platform deposited a total of $58,00 in six payments into her bank account, when she asked to withdraw some funds from her trading account.

The scammers also sent her a Louis Vuitton bag as a birthday present valued at $2,700.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said it’s becoming increasingly popular for fraudsters to use images of celebrities and trusted people in our community to make their scams look legitimate.

“In this case the bogus investment scheme used Andrew Forrest’s image and provided links to false news reports of him endorsing the scheme, making the offer look authentic and convincing,” Ms Lipscombe said.

“There are also cases where legitimate investment companies are having their corporate identities and brands stolen to be used in fake websites, advertisements and social media pages."

Ms Lipscombe also said to check the ASIC website when deciding whether to invest.

“When considering an investment, make sure the company or broker is the real deal by checking their registrations online and be suspicious of any unsolicited offers you might receive either by phone, email or via social media," she said.

“If the company claims to be overseas, there are usually government regulators in other countries that also have online registers that you can search.”

Since July 1, 2019, 15 victims of investment scams have reported to WA ScamNet losing a total of almost $2.7 million.

Last financial year, 63 WA victims reported losing a total of $5.9 million.

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