ASAL Group Scam: Beware of super investment fraud!

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What is the ASAL Group/asalgroup.com scam? Cybertrace is issuing an urgent scam alert for a fake superannuation investment company called Australia Securities Administration Pty. Ltd. Promising significantly increased returns and reduced management fees, the scammers have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from hardworking Australians. Please be aware and do not invest your precious retirement savings with these fraudsters! If you have already lost money to ASAL Group/asalgroup.com, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Instead, contact Cybertrace’s expert investigators to see how we can help you.

How does the ASAL Group scam work?

The ASAL scammers follow well-established patterns of super scams as detailed on the MoneySmart website or this recent ABC report. Firstly, they choose a name similar to an established and trusted company. Next, they utilise a slickly designed, professional-looking website to lure in older victims looking to maximise their super returns. On the phone, the fraudsters are likely responsive and mimic professional financial advice language in order to appear knowledgeable. Having thus gained the victims’ trust and promising high-yield investments, they advise victims in setting up a self-managed super fund (SMSF) supported by ASAL Group’s expertise. Once the victims believe they have established a fund, the scammers ask them to transfer their super assets into what looks like a legitimate Australian bank account. As soon as they transfer the money, the scammers forward it to an overseas account. Victims realise too late that the fraudsters duped them!

How can I spot rip-offs like the ASAL Group scam?

While fancy websites are designed to bamboozle, there are still ways in which we can all protect ourselves from scammers. Drawing on what we discussed in a previous blog on fake websites, what do Cybertrace’s experienced investigators look for?

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Variations of company name

A typical move by scammers is to position themselves in close proximity to established and trusted companies and brands. They do this by using different configurations of the same name, often only changing one word or even just one letter! While ASAL Group’s homepage refers to it as Australia Securities Administration Pty Ltd, a Google search results in an Australian Securities Administration Limited with the same Sydney address. Searching the Australian Government’s Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) registers similarly reveals three almost identical companies. Two of these (Australia Securities Admin Pty Ltd and Australia Security Administration Pty Ltd) were registered in the same Victorian locality between March and May 2021. The other one (Australian Securities Administration Limited) was registered in Sydney in 1985 and formerly linked to financial services firm AMP. This legitimate business thus provides the scammers with a veneer of validity-by-association.

Scam warnings by others

Another key warning sign to look out for are scam alerts issued by affected organisations or official bodies such as ASIC or the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). In the case of the ASAL Group scam, AMP actually released a scam warning via its own website on 17 June 2021. In it, AMP warns of ‘an ongoing scam operation’ that uses ‘a falsified website’ featuring a brand associated with AMP.

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Faceless and anonymous

A tell-tale sign of a fake website is the absence of any information of who runs/works for the company. Similarly, there is a complete lack of a social media presence. While ASAL Group’s homepage contains Twitter and Instagram icons, they do not link to either platform but simply re-route to the company’s website. Similarly, a search of LinkedIn and Facebook did not return any employees or, indeed, the company itself.

No (or bad) reviews

For a supposedly well-established investment company, it is curious that there are hardly any independent reviews for ASAL Group. Indeed, the only ways in which others discuss it on fora such as Trustpilot and Whirlpool are as a scam. On another site, ReverseAustralia, reviewers name ASAL Group’s listed phone number as scam-related. This represents a final clear red flag to any potential investor.

Don’t fall for the ASAL Group scam!

Based on all of the above signs, it is clear that ASAL Group’s operations at asalgroup.com are indeed a scam. Targeting hundreds of thousands of dollars of superannuation funds, the scammers are out to defraud Australian pensioners. Please do not invest any of your money with these frauds! If they have managed to fool you, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. They run a sophisticated operation and try everything they can to appear legitimate. Don’t get mad, get even – contact Cybertrace today to discuss how our experienced investigators might be able to help you.

If you are a current or former staff member of the syndicate and would like to speak with us, you can contact us anonymously via cybertrace_aust@protonmail.com. We have successfully worked with conscientious insiders when investigating previous scams, thus bringing justice and relief to long-suffering victims. Your help can make a real difference!

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