We are often asked by our customers how they can keep their super safe – not from dangerous investments but rather from people who may try to steal your funds.
You can only access your superannuation if you meet a condition of release. Scammers will try and convince you that they can help you access your superannuation early. Knowing the rules around accessing super may protect you from these kinds of scams.
Refer to https://moneysmart.gov.au/how-super-works/getting-your-super to learn more about when you can access your superannuation.
If you are contacted and advised that you can access your superannuation prior to your preservation age, and/or poached into moving your superannuation into a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund, there is the possibility that you could be a victim of investment fraud or identity theft.
Investment fraud often involves individuals with Self-Managed Superannuation Funds being convinced by scammers to invest in non-existing or illegal companies or sectors. Victims are convinced to move their balance to a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund, where the fraudster can either access the entire amount or take a portion of it as a “fee”.
These fraudsters may also steal your identity and roll your superannuation into a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund, without your consent or knowledge.
By using your personal information, the fraudsters can apply for hardship payments with false documents, as identity rules around Self-Managed Superannuation Funds and hardship payments are weak. They then open bank accounts and arrange for funds to be ‘rolled over’ from legitimate funds, into fraudulent accounts. The bank accounts receiving the stolen funds are not checked against existing records and can be in multiple names.
You can use the following measures to protect your superannuation from theft –
- Regularly check your superannuation balance, as well as credit card and bank statements.
- Be careful with your personal and private information, including all personal information on social media.
- Shred your documents prior to throwing them out.
- Keep your mailbox locked and ensure your residential and postal address is always current.
- Have good security software in place, set up strong passwords, and use public computers with caution.
- Check your credit report on a regular basis.
You can check if someone is licensed on ASIC’s website. Choose ‘Australian Financial Services Licensee’ in the drop-down menu when you search. You can also use APRA’s Disqualification Register to check whether someone has been qualified.
Superannuation Advice Australia is a licensed advisory firm, giving you the peace of mind that you are interacting with a reputable financial adviser who has your best interests at heart.