16/10/2015 - 13:28

WA victim ripped off by ‘bogus’ website

16/10/2015 - 13:28

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Consumer Protection is investigating a ‘bogus’ investment company which is believed to have taken nearly $700,000 from Australians through its fake website.

Consumer Protection is investigating a ‘bogus’ investment company which is believed to have taken nearly $700,000 from Australians through its fake website.

Consumer Protection is investigating Strauss-Mann Trading Solutions and its website, after a local man had sent $70,000 to the company only to find that it was a scam.

Further enquiries have revealed that about $670,000 has been sent by other Australians to the company in the past 10 months.

“The WA victim was cold-called by the scammers in October last year who had persuaded him to invest $10,000 in gold trading,” Consumer Protection said in a statement.

“The investment was supported by professional-looking documents and the victim was able to log into an account to monitor the performance of his investment.

“After seeing a rise in his account balance, the victim invested more money. When he attempted to withdraw the money, he was asked to pay ‘fees and taxes’ to have the money released.

“More money was sent by the victim but no funds were returned and attempts to contact the business have failed.”

Although the website claims the company is based in London, Consumer Protection found that Strauss-Mann isn’t registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom.

Instead, the website is registered with a free email address and appears to be based in the United States, it found.

Acting commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe warned investors not to do any business with Strauss-Mann or its website while the investigation continues.

“We need to urgently warn would-be investors to be aware that this website and the company behind it appear to be fake and designed to deceive investors,” Mr Newcombe said.

“Anyone who has had dealings with Strauss-Mann is urged to make a report to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.

“I would also strongly recommend that investors only use licensed financial investment operators when looking to invest their money.”

Mr Newcombe urged investors to go through Australian stockbrokers and financial services providers licensed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to ensure their investments are handled in a secure and professional manner.

“If you choose to deal with an overseas based company which is not registered in Australia, you should consult the International Organization of Securities Commissions website and check with the appropriate authority where the overseas business is located to confirm they are appropriately registered to provide the services you require,” he said.

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