Huge losses feared in gold investment scam
(Strauss-Mann Trading Solutions)
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are feared to have been lost by Australians who it’s believed have been duped by a bogus investment company operating a fake website.
Consumer Protection is investigating Strauss-Mann Trading Solutions and its website www.straussmannts.com after a WA man had sent $70,000 to the company, only to find that it was a scam. Further enquiries have revealed that $670,000 has been sent by other Australians to the scammers in the past ten months.
The WA victim was cold-called by the scammers in October 2014 who had persuaded him to invest $10,000 in gold trading. The investment was supported by professional looking documents and the victim was able to log into an account to monitor the performance of his investment.
After seeing a rise in his account balance, the victim invested more money. When he attempted to withdraw the money, he was asked to pay “fees and taxes” to have the money released. More money was sent by the victim but no funds were returned and attempts to contact the business have failed.
Although the website claims the company is based in London, it is not registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom. The website is registered with a free email address and appears to be based in the United States.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe warns investors not to do any business with Strauss-Mann Trading Solutions or its website while an investigation continues.
“We need to urgently warn would-be investors to be aware that this website and the company behind it, Strauss-Mann Trading Solutions, appear to be fake and designed to deceive investors,” Mr Newcombe said.
“Anyone who has had dealings with Strauss-Mann Trading Solutions is urged to make a report to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN). I would also strongly recommend that investors only use licensed financial investment operators when looking to invest their money.
“We would urge investors to go through Australian stock brokers and financial services providers licensed by ASIC to ensure their investments will be handled in a secure and professional manner.
“If you choose to deal with an overseas based company which is not registered in Australia, you should consult the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) website and check with the appropriate authority where the overseas business is located to confirm they are appropriately registered to provide the services you require.”
Reports to ACORN can be lodged via Australian Cyber Security Centre. More information on investing securely is available on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) websites: www.asic.gov.au or www.moneysmart.gov.au.
WA investors who believe they have been a victim of this scam can contact WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection by email or by calling 1300 30 40 54.