Expats in New Zealand falling foul of cold calling and overseas investment scams

Published:  23 Oct at 6 PM
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Following on from reports of vastly increased numbers of financial scams in Europe, the Gulf States and Asia, today’s warning to citizens and expats by the Kiwi Financial Markets Authority (FMA) comes as no big surprise.

Expats across the world are now being ripped off via an unprecedented number of financial fraudsters lurking in expat communities. The majority of those targeted are older expats and retirees, and pension pots and life savings are more at risk than ever before.

The FMA’s action comes as a result of an increasing number of consumer complaints concerning suspicious offers by so-called FAs and cold-calling sleazy salesmen touting Forex trading services and supposedly high-interest overseas investments. The fraudulent advice given almost always involves transferring investors’ cash to overseas companies.

According to the authority, red flags to watch for include a request for swift transfers in order not to miss out on special deals and dissuading customers from taking independent profession advice before making a decision. Cold-calling from strangers, however plausible they sound, should never result in an investment deal, and offers of Forex trading software systems and licenses should be refused.

FMA Director of Compliance Elaine Campbell urges investors to apply the old saying ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t true’. She advises those approached should simply hang up the phone, terminate any face-to-face conversation and never hand over money without understanding exactly the product or investment offered.

Fake financial websites with names cloned from well-respected financial firms are the latest trick used by fraudsters in New Zealand and across many other countries. Kiwi financial laws require FAs to register with and be authorised by the FMA, and the authority’s website gives a list of firms and individuals known to be operating without its approval.
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