Web users still falling for ASIC joke

He believes web users are too often tempted to ignore basic investment procedures, such as company legitimacy checks, when faced with advertisements for "high-yield" investment schemes on the internet.

Dunn said scams conducted via the internet, whether advertised through spam email or convincing websites, were no different to those traditionally conducted through newspaper advertising or telemarketing. "It (the internet) is just another channel," he said.

"Investment frauds and financial scams don't change. They just put on new clothing."

Dunn warned potential investors away from participating in any so-called high-return schemes advertised on websites containing a ".com" suffix in the domain name. US law does not require that companies be registered as a business before securing the rights to these URLs, he explained.

For this reason, scammers hiding behind .com domain names could actually be based anywhere in the world. "It isn't a guarantee the company is based in America."

However, any company whose URL ended with .com.au was required by law to be registered as an Australian business first, Dunn said. Therefore, a company operating a website with the .com.au suffix would be more easily traceable by ASIC, he said.

Moreover, an Australian victim of a scam originating overseas could only rely on the enforcement proceedings in that country.

Dunn said ASIC was unable to estimate accurately how much Australians wasted each year on investment scams, whether via the internet or not. However, he referred to an ASIC ploy conducted in May last year, in which the commission published a bogus investment advertisement on the internet, promising punters high returns for investing in nonexistent "millennium" related software.

Around 400 Australians sent submissions of interest to the bogus company (a heavily disguised ASIC) which valued the total follow-up payments at over $4 million, before the commission unveiled the prank, he said.

Faced with this evidence of Australia's gullibility, ASIC implemented its online "Gull Awards", which invites consumer submissions that detail investment scams. ASIC also offers a free online list of all businesses registered in Australia. Using this list, investors-to-be can access full registration details as well as company portfolios of companies they plan to invest with, Dunn said.

"You don't have to be a genius to spot a scam," he said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Byron Kaye

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?