Superannuation Fund Scam Investigation

Don’t lose your retirement savings to superannuation fraud.

As one of life’s most valuable investments, superannuation funds are frequently targeted by unscrupulous fraudsters. In addition to the large amounts of money held, advancements in technology have enabled these scammers to steal not only hard-earned savings but victims’ identities, too. 

The consequences of such superannuation scams are often devastating. If you suspect that you have been targeted by a super fund scam, please take immediate action by contacting our renowned investigators. We will uncover actionable evidence to help you prosecute the culprit behind the crime and recover your retirement savings.

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Types of super fund scam to watch out for

Superannuation identity theft

Identity theft super scams revolve around extracting personal information from the victim. Whether through email, social media, phone calls or physical mailboxes, scammers steal your identity with the ultimate aim of accessing your superannuation fund and the savings within it. 

To do this, the scammer may impersonate a reputable financial organisation, such as a bank or super fund, and request your personal or super account details via a link. If you click on this, they may be able to gain access to your computer, log-ins and other sensitive information.

For example, some scammers have been masquerading as the AustralianSuper brand, such as through fraudulent Facebook pages, SMS, emails and websites that feature the organisation’s logo. Promising strong returns on cryptocurrency investments, they dupe victims into thinking they are interacting with the legitimate super fund. 

Importantly, the real AustralianSuper will never request you to confirm or change personal or banking details via an email or text message link.

Imposter financial advisors

Some scammers pose as financial advisors or superannuation specialists to swindle targets out of a percentage or all of their retirement savings. 

Despite claiming to hold all of the required credentials, they do not have a legitimate licence and instead, funnel funds into their own account behind the victim’s back. 

Superannuation investment fraud

This scam targets self-managed super funds (SMSF) holders. Fraudsters convince victims to invest in illegitimate or illegal initiatives or industries by moving their super balance from a regulated sector or retail fund into an SMSF on the grounds that they can earn high returns of approximately 20% or more each year.

To appear legitimate, fraudsters often adopt business names, contact details and websites that are similar to genuine Australian companies with Australian financial services licences. They may even ensure SMSF is correctly established and compliant with Australian legislation.

Once the victim is lured in, the scammer will access the full amount or take a percentage of it as a ‘fee’ for their services, transferring the money from the victim’s existing super fund – with or without their consent. 

Unlike other forms of super fraud, this type of scam tends to target large groups as opposed to individuals. This is often orchestrated through bogus seminars, ‘special’ offers or false advertisements. 

Early access super fund scams

These calculated scammers promise ‘proven’ ways to access your superannuation early. Victims are lured in by the claim that this early withdrawal will provide greater flexibility to repay debts or facilitate other expenditures. 

In reality, you are only permitted to access your superannuation if you satisfy a condition of release. If you are approached and advised that you can access your superannuation ahead of your preservation age, it is likely a scam attempting to steal your personal information and life savings.

Cold call superannuation scams

Some scammers might call you out of nowhere on your home or mobile phone, starting the conversation with a summary of investment performance before explaining strategies to improve returns. 

You may be asked to provide personal details like your email address so that they can send important information. Moreover, they could even request that you transfer your money to another super fund. 

Do not pick up any phone calls from an unknown number, and if you have answered, then hang up immediately. Do not disclose your personal details or transfer any funds.

Phishing superannuation scams

Phishing is another common type of superannuation scam. These emails appear to be from trusted super funds, alerting victims that their password expires soon and must be updated or renewed by clicking on a link.

If you have opened an unexpected email of this kind, please avoid clicking on any links. Genuine superannuation funds will not request confirmation or disclosure of personal or banking details through an email or text link, or even provide a link to a login page.

Super fund scam investigators with a proven track record

A global reputation

IFW is renowned around the world for its unrivalled ability to unearth evidence and combat sophisticated superannuation scams. Our revered investigators, researchers and analysts bring the truth to light with unparalleled skill.

No stone unturned

We tackle all superannuation scam investigations with proactive and personalised tactics that evolve with every breakthrough. Our investigators leverage invaluable access to local databases, expert witnesses in super fraud, and a network of confidential informants.

Resources around the world

IFW investigators utilise exclusive partnerships with federal and international law enforcement agencies across the globe. We can also collaborate with local and foreign correspondent lawyers to uncover money trails and hidden assets in almost any country.

Actionable evidence

Having your superannuation fund ransacked by scammers can ruin the rest of your life. To help you take legal action against the fraudsters and attempt to recover your losses, we will provide a rigorous brief of evidence for use during criminal proceedings in the relevant jurisdiction. 

Complete discretion

Every superannuation scam investigation is performed with unwavering professionalism and sensitivity. Enjoy peace of mind knowing we encrypt all personal data for complete privacy, and keep all case details confidential unless disclosed with your consent.

Recent raid from a scammer boiler room call centre

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes, the funds in your superannuation can most certainly be stolen. If you share your personal information with a scammer, you risk losing your entire pool of retirement savings.

    This is a common crime, with the ACCC reporting that consumers lost over $6.4 million to superannuation scams in 2020.

  • A superannuation scam targets unsuspecting fund members to steal hard-earned life savings from their accounts. Scammers may contact victims online, via email or by phone in order to extract the sensitive information required to access their accounts. Red flags of a superannuation scam include promotions for:

    • Early super withdrawal;
    • Self-managed super funds; and
    • Property investments.

    Once the money has been swindled, it can be extremely challenging to recover.

  • Take the following measures to protect yourself and your retirement savings from super scams:

    • Know the regulations surrounding your super and its withdrawal policies.
    • Avoid engaging with advertisements that purport to offer a quick and convenient way to access your super early.
    • Check your super balance and contact details regularly to ensure everything looks right. If you suspect that something is wrong, contact your super fund immediately for an explanation.
    • Protect your personal details by shredding sensitive documents after use, being careful on social media and using secure passwords.
    • Avoid dealing with any so-called ‘expert’ if they are not listed as licenced to set up or manage super funds on ASIC’s website. Select ‘Australian Financial Services Licensee’ in the drop-down menu to search for someone’s credentials. You can also check if they’ve been disqualified on the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)’s Disqualified Register.
  • If you suspect that your superannuation has been targeted by fraudsters or its funds already stolen, it is critical that you take urgent action to help prevent the scam or limit its consequences.

    • Contact your superannuation fund as soon as possible to make them aware of any fraudulent activity;
    • Contact any other relevant financial institutions to notify them of the scam so they can freeze your bank accounts and credit cards;
    • Alert the ATO of the scam by calling 13 10 20;
    • File a complaint with ASIC, who is responsible for dealing with financial and investment scams in Australia;
    • Report the super fund scam to the ACCC’s Scamwatch and the police if your money has already been stolen; and
    • Be cautious of anyone claiming that they can transfer superannuation funds on your behalf.
    • Hang up on cold callers who attempt to convince you to share your personal information or withdraw your money into a super fund account or some other sort of investment.

    Book a consultation with IFW now to commence an investigation that will help you to track down the scammers and take legal action to recover your losses.

  • How do I report a super scam?

    If you suspect that your superannuation has been targeted by fraudsters or its funds have already been stolen, it is critical that you take urgent action to help prevent the scam or limit its consequences.

    • Contact your superannuation fund as soon as possible to make them aware of any fraudulent activity;
    • Contact any other relevant financial institutions to notify them of the scam so they can freeze your bank accounts and credit cards;
    • Alert the ATO of the scam by calling 13 10 20;
    • File a complaint with ASIC, which is responsible for dealing with financial and investment scams in Australia;
    • Immediately report the fraud to the Police or via your national fraud reporting portal (for example: Australia – www.cyber.gov.au, USA – www.ic3.gov, UK – www.actionfraud.police.uk, Canada – www.antifraudcentre.ca)
    • Report the scam to the ACCC’s Scamwatch; and
    • Book a consultation with IFW now to commence an investigation that will help you to track down the scammers and take legal action to recover your losses.
  • Superannuation scam investigations tend to take one to three months. This rough estimate depends on the complexity of the scam and whether you intend to take legal action against the fraudster(s). 

    If the culprit behind the scam is tracked down successfully, our investigators can work closely with law enforcement officials to help file search warrants and/or criminal charges against them – a complicated and lengthy process that may extend the overall time frame.

  • It is challenging to recover funds that have been stolen in a superannuation scam. 

    If your retirement savings have been lost through identity theft, you may be able to apply for a Commonwealth Victim’s Certificate, which can assist you in requesting for your financial institution or super fund to remove a fraudulent transaction.

    Additionally, IFW Global’s asset recovery services combine cyber intelligence, investigations and on-the-ground monitoring to track down stolen assets. Please contact us today for more information.

  • The cost of a superannuation scam investigation rests on the sophistication and scale of the scam, the losses you have incurred, and the jurisdiction in which the offenders operated.

    Before we start the investigation, our investigators will provide you with a thorough proposal that details a suggested budget to bolster the likelihood of a successful outcome.

  • The likelihood of a successful investigation depends on the distinct circumstances of your case. The more actionable evidence our investigators can uncover, the greater the probability that you will be able to bring the orchestrator to court. 

    To provide you with an accurate prediction of the likelihood of success, we will perform a preliminary assessment of your case after our initial consultation. Armed with this expert insight, you can then decide whether to commence the super fund investigation.

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