Due to the current prevalence of scams, a growing concern has emerged in the form of money retrieval scams or "follow-up" schemes. These scams specifically target individuals who have previously fallen victim and lost money to scams.
In such instances, scammers pose as legitimate businesses and make assurances to assist victims in reclaiming their lost funds, usually in exchange for an upfront fee. Additionally, scammers will often request the victim's personal information before offering assistance.
Consumers have been warned about a particular scam of concern that is current circulating:
Money recovery scams using fake documents to impersonate ASIC
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is alerting consumers about a scam involving an entity called Payback-Recovery Co (www.payback-recovery.com), which claims to be a money recovery service that can help recover money lost to scams or fraud.
The scam website is misleading consumers by:
- Providing fake documents that appear to be real, as they are displaying the ASIC logo and Commonwealth Coat of Arms. These documents claim to have an affiliation with ASIC, however ASIC has confirmed they have no association with www.payback-recovery.com and do not assist in recovering funds lost to a scam or fraud.
- Claiming that ASIC approves www.payback-recovery.com’s activities. This is not true.
- Suggesting they have the authority to act for ASIC as an Unclaimed Money Representative. This is also not true, you can search unclaimed money for free (however ASIC does not hold unclaimed money from fraud/scam losses).
- The website provides unrealistic recovery rates, mentioning they have recovered 95% of losses.
ASIC has advised some ways to identify if a document is likely to be a scam. The document may:
- claim that ASIC can provide assistance in recovering funds from victims of a scam
- claim to have a relationship with a third party to assist in recovering scam funds
- purport to be from ASIC but refers to third-party service provider websites to proceed
- purport that ASIC holds funds in crypto-assets.
ASIC has also received reports from consumers who have paid upfront fees without receiving any recovered money or refund.
Red flags to look out for in similar recovery scams
Unsolicited contact – Legitimate recovery firms will typically operate on a referral basis or will be sought out by victims actively seeking assistance. If you are unexpectedly contacted by a recovery company, exercise caution and investigate further before engaging with them.
Transparency and credentials - Recovery Scams often lack transparency about their company details, licenses, and affiliations; it's crucial to thoroughly research their background and verify their credentials before engaging.
Lack of verifiable track record - Scammers usually lack a credible track record. Ask for specific case examples and seek independent verification of success before trusting a recovery company.
Pressuring tactics - Scammers use high-pressure tactics to rush victims into decisions; genuine recovery companies provide time for informed choices and never push for immediate action.
Unrealistic promises - Exercise caution when individuals guarantee recovery, as the process is complex and challenging. Recovery is not guaranteed, and anyone claiming otherwise is likely to be a scammer.
What to do if you have encountered a scam
If you believe you may have been a victim or lost money to a scam, it’s important to notify your financial institution as soon as possible. Do not send any more money and block all contact from the scammer.
Seek support from IDCARE (a free government-funded service) who can help you develop a response plan to limit the damage. IDCARE will never contact you out of the blue.
If you find yourself distressed or need someone to talk to, reach out to trusted individuals such as family and friends, you may also want to contact your doctor or one of the 24 hour government funded support services.