The phishing scam reportedly is using common search engine terms such as bond or high-yield investments, for an advert link to fake comparison websites. Other well-known fund managers’ brands are also being used to swindle consumers, Vanguard stated.
The websites prompt users to enter personal information, including identification and bank details, followed by an in-person contact, while providing a fake Vanguard prospectus that pushes victims to buy non-existent investment products. One example of such website was called Investment Compare, with others holding variations of the name.
Vanguard has alerted its clients of the scam through its website and investor portal, as well as through its phone support, advising people on steps to take if they have shared personal information or funds.
Vanguard head of corporate affairs Robin Bowerman commented scammers are taking advantage of investors in a low-rate environment, by offering a fake product promising “ultimately unrealistic” yields.
ASIC recently alerted the market it had seen a rise in sophisticated investor scams, with deputy chair Karen Chester warning offers of high-yield bonds were likely to be “either high-risk or they may simply be bogus and a scam”.
“Echoing ASIC’s February warning; if it feels too good to be true, it probably is,” Mr Bowerman said.
“We are urging anyone considering investing in a new investment to conduct proper due diligence prior to transferring funds, including contacting the asset manager they are looking to invest with directly via their listed phone number or website.
“Anyone impacted should immediately report this criminal offence to police, contact their bank to stop payments being taken, and alert major credit bureaus such as Equifax and Experion to place a stop on their credit profile to prevent others opening accounts with their personal information.”
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].