Couple Paul and Lisa had been thinking about how they might fast track their wealth creation plans. They ran a successful plumbing company with three vans and a small team of staff, and were in a comfortable position.
Doing some online research Lisa came across information about virtual currency Bitcoin and how they were the investment of the future, with a lot of people making amazing returns. She raised it with Paul that night and suggested that they consider investing.
The next day Lisa received a phone call from a Bitcoin dealer, who offered Paul and Lisa an introductory offer of an initial investment of $2,500, instead of the usual minimum trade of $10,000.
Four weeks later they received a payout of $3,440 on that initial investment, and were advised that their equity in coins was now worth $10,000. With such attractive returns they both agreed that they would invest more to maximise their return, spurred on by their Bitcoin dealer Joe.
As time went on, they started to receive messages from Joe letting them know that they needed to pay new ‘fees’ to comply with government regulations. Looking back on it, Paul comments, “it was like we were free falling. He told us to go to the bank for a loan but we had gone far enough”.
Lisa and Paul realised something was wrong when they tried to log into their Bitcoin account, and found that their log in credentials no longer worked. Calls to Joe went unanswered and then his number was disconnected, and there was no response from the company’s email address.
Lisa and Paul realised they had fallen for a sophisticated investment scam. They were not alone; many well educated and intelligent Australians have fallen victim to these sophisticated scams, with Australian reporting $23,000,000 in losses to investment scams this year.
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