Noel Whittaker
Noel Whittaker

A timely reminder to be on guard

LAST month ASIC obtained court orders against Golden Sparrow Pty Ltd and Michelle Margaret Bruhn, both of the Gold Coast, following an ASIC investigation. 

ASIC alleges that the defendants used cold calling and a website to induce investors to deposit funds into a number of bank accounts with the promise that these funds would be used to buy shares and generate returns of between 1% and 3% a week. 

Of course, if something sounds too good to be true it usually is - it appears likely that anybody who put money into this scheme would have lost it. 

ASIC points out that features of the scam included adopting company names of legitimate companies who are licensed to provide financial services, and that the initial contact was made by cold calling from a person who claimed they were conducting a survey into investing generally. 

The victims were "lured with promises of high returns and then subjected to pressure in order to induce them to hand over their money". Furthermore, once they fell victim for the first time, they were usually called back and invest even more money. 

Think about it, if you had invented a trading system that can make between 1% and 3% a week why would you sell it to anybody else? Just $50,000 invested at 2% a week would be worth over $6m in just five years. 

Remember, anybody who calls you regarding an investment should be treated with the greatest of suspicion. You are much better off to stick with a member of the Financial Planning Association - and also visit ASIC's Money Smart website if you have any suspicions. 

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