A bond is an investment security whereby a creditor (typically a private investor) lends money to a debtor (usually a company or government) for a fixed time frame, under the promise of receiving regular interest payments in return. Despite this investment structure being viewed as low risk, the rise in bond scams means you may be putting your savings in serious danger.
The fraud investigation experts at IFW Global have unearthed intelligence to believe that the fixed income security known as EQR Securities is a scam. Claiming to be a registered company with deposit bonds issued and backed by one of Australia’s leading banks, this sophisticated scam is swindling private investors across the country.
Below, we explain how the EQR Securities scam targets its victims and what actions to take if you have already invested money in an imposter bond.
What is EQR Securities?
This scam targets investors across Australia by offering fake deposit bonds advertised as low risk, high return with a guarantee of the initial investment back.
Originally, EQR Securities cloned a real registered company with the ABN 30 009 119 242 and ASF (Australian Financial Services licence) licence no. 233714. However, EQR Securities were deregistered in February 2022 and have since been taken control of by Westpac Equities.
How the EQR Securities scam works
Investors tended to come across this scam by searching for bond opportunities online. EQR Securities’ now shut-down website, www.eqrsecurities.com, appeared highly professional with legitimate-looking login portals.
Through this site and their brochure, the fraudsters provide a wealth of information on various investment options that seem well-researched and reliable, even linking to Government websites to build a sense of credibility. Those featured include Australian Government bonds, fixed rate bonds, floating rate bonds, zero interest rate bonds, inflation linked bonds, perpetual bonds, subordinated bonds, bearer bonds and war bonds.
However, this content is all a ploy to reel in unsuspecting investors, who submit an online enquiry form to express interest in receiving investment advice, often via a third party or comparison site. From there, the fraudsters lure in targets with tactics such as:
- Sharing professional-looking but bogus prospectuses with promises of low risk and high returns;
- Claiming that the bonds are issued and backed by reputable financial institutions when this is not the case;
- Purporting that bond investments are protected by up to $250,000 per person under the Commonwealth Government’s Financial Claims Scheme;
- Falsely stating that funds will be invested in government bonds or the bonds of companies with AAA credit ratings; and
- Calling targets to pressure them into investing with pushy sales strategies.
When victims choose to invest in these bonds, they are requested to pay funds into a bank account.
Despite what its marketing materials claim, EQR Securities is not a legitimate fixed income security. Rather, it is just another scam that promises too-good-to-be-true returns to steal your hard-earned savings. Unfortunately, it is very challenging to recover money lost to scams of this nature, particularly if the fraudsters are located outside of Australia.
View brochure from the scamTop
Fixed income recommendations and low risk high return options
EQR Securities Brochure
How to avoid falling victim to a bond scam
Before making any investment with any organisation promoting bonds, determine the scheme’s legitimacy by checking:
- If the prospectus is related to any recent offer registered with the ASIC’s Offer Notice Board;
- If the organisation is on ASIC’s register of Australian financial services licensees
- If the organisation has been flagged on ASIC’s Moneysmart list of companies you should never invest with; and
- If the official website of the supposed issuer of the bonds features alerts about imposter scams.
It is also always a smart idea to seek professional financial advice.
What to do if you have been targeting by a bond scam
If you have been targeted by a bond scam such as EQR Securities, it’s important to take the following actions as soon as possible:
- Do not invest any more money.
- Report your fraud via the Australian Cyber Security Centre fraud reporting portal as soon as possible.
- Submit an investment fraud enquiry to IFW Global to learn how our fraud investigation specialists can help you to recover your assets.
Learn more about fraud investigation with IFW
At IFW, we specialise in cross-border fraud and asset recovery in foreign jurisdictions, leveraging advanced surveillance and investigation tactics to tackle fraud and bring the truth to light. Find out more about our investment scam investigation services now.