Protecting yourself from investment scams


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Protecting yourself from investment scams

looking at a scammer through a magnifying glass and the ASIC logo

What's coming up?

In this activity, you’ll learn how to avoid investment scams by keeping a few things in mind. Investment scams always look too good to be true, because they are.

This activity will also show how you can make use of ASIC’s resources to check if a company is legitimate, before you invest.

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Being wary of overpromised results

Investment scams always overpromise

Real investment opportunities offer either slow returns with low risk, or the possibility of good returns but with considerable risk and exposure to shifts in the market.

Important: Never invest with a company or person who claims they have special knowledge or hot tips that will double your money or guarantee very high returns in a short period of time.

Being wary of unsolicited phone calls

Avoid unsolicited investment opportunities

While some legitimate investment companies will use cold-calling to find customers, it’s safest to avoid investing with anyone who calls you out of the blue. You should only invest with companies you’ve thoroughly researched yourself.

Check investment companies with ASIC

If you get contacted by a company you think might be legitimate, or you have seen an ad for a company that interests you, always check their credentials via ASIC before dealing with them.

You can visit ASIC’s Investing and Financial Advice for consumers page at and follow links to check if a company is legit.

The ASIC website
a locked padlock

eSafety tip

ASIC also keeps a list of known scammers and unlicensed companies on the Moneysmart web site, at

However, if a company does not appear on this list, that’s not a guarantee it is legitimate, because scammers change company names frequently to avoid prosecution.

Researching an investment company online

Search for the company online

You can also check if a company is legitimate by doing a Google search with the company name followed by the terms complaint or scam.

Online reviews can be helpful, but keep in mind that it’s possible for scammers to fake positive reviews.

Be suspicious of offers from online friends

If you are being encouraged to invest by a person you met online, especially if they have been making romantic overtures, you should cease contact with that person immediately.

Receiving a suspicious message online
a locked padlock

eSafety tip

Scammers sometimes combine romance scams with investment scams to trick you into giving up your money. You can find out more about Romance scams course.

A fake celebrity endorsement

Ignore celebrity endorsements

Scammers will sometimes use a fake celebrity endorsement to advertise their investment scam. You should always ignore these.

Avoid cryptocurrency investment offers

A new kind of investment opportunity involves cryptocurrency. While some investments can be legitimate, cryptocurrency is a very risky area as there is limited regulation, and scammers can rely on the technical complexity of crypto and your lack of knowledge to trick you.

You can find out more about these types of scams in the Crypto scams course.

scammer holding bitcoin
lady holding up a stop hand signal to a scammer

Well done!

This is the end of the Protecting yourself from investment scams activity. You’ve learned which investment offers are likely to be scams, and that when it comes to investing, if something seems too good to be true, it always is.

In the next activity, you can find out how to Report investment scams and update your details.