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ASIC scam-buster tech blitzes thousands of dodgy websites


Fake investment and crypto platforms along with impersonator sites have been detected and disabled, the regulator says.

By Philip King 12 minute read

Scam-buster technology deployed by ASIC has disabled thousands of websites since July in a blitz on fake investment and crypto platforms.

The regulator said its new facility, accelerated with funding of $17.6 million from the 2023–24 budget, could spot impersonator sites and other scams and then disable or remove them.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said the government’s initiatives targeting investment scams, which were responsible for 60 per cent of losses, were working to weed out hard-to-spot fraud.


“Scammers are using all the tricks in the bag to con consumers – offering attractive investment returns, using fake ACNs and claiming to have ASIC endorsement,” Mr Jones said. “It’s no surprise that even to the discerning eye these scam websites trick consumers.”

“We are making some serious headway in disrupting investment scams. ASIC’s website takedown service is removing around 20 dodgy websites a day.”

ASIC’s scam-buster technology was part of the government’s Fighting Scams initiative and supported work by the National Anti-Scams Centre (NASC), which commenced operations in July.

“In partnership with the ongoing work of the NASC’s investment scam fusion cell, we are helping protect Australians from online scams, making dodgy investments, and losing hard-earned savings,” Mr Jones said.

“The good news – our anti‑scams initiatives are working. We’re beginning to see a trend of more reporting due to better awareness, and less financial losses.” He said the NASC had reported a decline in losses to investment scams over the last quarter and ASIC said most of the 2,100 investment scam websites disrupted had been fake investment platforms appearing to offer high-risk products, such as FX derivatives and crypto assets.

ASIC was also targeting impersonation scams, which cloned legitimate businesses to trick consumers, and fake celebrity endorsements used to fraudulently promote financial products.

ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said its website takedown service could identify and disrupt investment scams and phishing websites but scammers were sophisticated and people should keep their guard up.

“All Australians should approach websites that promote guaranteed, quick, low-risk and very high returns with caution,” she said. “If an investment opportunity seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.”

ASIC highlighted some of the tricks that should be red flags about investment sites, including:

  • Using ASIC’s name and branding to give a false appearance of legitimacy.
  • Using statements that downplayed investment risk or offered very high investment returns.
  • The lack of a specific business address.
  • Websites or email addresses that mimic but don’t match reputable companies.
  • Being asked to pay more money to access funds already invested.



Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

You can email Philip on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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