People have been receiving text messages that claim they have a large sum of money waiting in a new account that has been activated for them.
The messages list a figure of several thousand dollars as the current balance in your new account and urge you to follow a link to claim your funds.
Here’s an example of the SMS:
Dear [your name], your new account has been activated. Your current balance is 13, 948.18 AUD Claim your funds NOW: [Link removed]
If you follow the link, you will be taken to a slick “bitcoin code” website that promises that you can quickly and easily make a fortune by using the company’s special trading software. The site uses over-the-top video “testimonials” and hyped-up promises of wealth to get you to register.
Despite its outlandish promises, the fine print on the site includes the less than encouraging clause:
[COMPANY] EXPLICITLY DOES NOT MAKE ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR GUARANTEES THAT USERS WILL MAKE ANY PROFIT OR THAT USERS WILL NOT LOSE ANY OR ALL DEPOSITED INVESTMENT FUNDS.
In reality, the system outlined on the website is just another binary options scam. Those who go ahead and sign up for the system are vastly unlikely to make the large amounts of money that the site promises. A few participants might make a modest profit on their investment. But, the majority of users will make no profit at all and will end up losing any money they invested.
Initially, your account may display what appears to be a series of successful trades. But, these are likely to be fake and are designed to trick you into investing more money, which you will ultimately lose. And, these schemes make it almost impossible to withdraw any of the money you have invested.
The Australian Government’s ScamWatch website explains binary options scams as follows:
Binary options involve predicting the movements of commodity, asset or index prices over a short time. Although they may be a legitimate financial product with many licenced firms trading in them, binary options are speculative, high risk products that are almost impossible to predict, even for professionals. There are groups of scammers who use binary options to steal your money.
These scammers use high-pressure sales tactics to try and convince you to invest in a trading account, making claims that the system is simple and high profits are guaranteed. If you agree, they direct you to a website with a login, account details and the trading platform. They put your money into the account and demonstrate a number of successful trades to encourage you to invest greater sums of money.
Once invested in the scheme, victims have reported that their money begins to disappear quickly. When they try to withdraw from the scheme, they find it impossible to get their money out of the account. The scammer does everything they can to keep the victim in the program but inevitably they stop taking the victim’s calls and, after a short period of time, it is common for the firms to disappear.