Tax and legal advice
Robert Stevens

3 SMSF property scams and how to avoid them

By Robert Stevens

Property investors can be easy targets for scammers – so it's important to know a scam when you see one, and how to avoid being the victim.

Blogger: Robert Stevens, co-director, Allied Investment Group

Sadly, there are scammers who target Australians by trying to steal money from their super. The scammers often gain access to the super by promising to help set up SMSF property investments. There are three common SMSF property scams I will outline below:

1. The investment seminar
According to the government regulator, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, many seminars have a sting in the tail. You may have received a letter to attend a seminar or you might have seen an advertisement online or in a newspaper. Free tickets to see motivational speakers or an investment “expert” are often used to promote these events. Seminar promoters make their money by charging you a ticket fee to attend or by selling books, education services or expensive reports. They might even make misleading or deceptive claims or try to pressure you into signing up for an investment on the night.

2. Early release of your super
The promoters of these schemes offer easy and early access to your super, often through the use of your SMSF or for a fee. Here’s the truth: there is no easy way to access your super until you reach your preservation age, which can range from 55 to 60 years old, depending on your year of birth. Of course, there are exceptions around financial hardship, but the restrictions, rules, and regulations to get access to the money are extraordinary. Your super is for your retirement years, not now.

3. Cold calling
You receive a call you didn’t expect. The person making the call is offering you investments with high returns, possibly located overseas. You might be offered free financial advice. Common investments touted are cheap or foreclosed property deals in the United States, or properties in exotic locations such as Bali. The caller might recommend using your super to engage in high-risk investments such as foreign currency trading (FOREX), options trading or dubious stocks.

Remember: if anyone recommends any investment product or products, they must be licensed and provide a written Statement of Advice (SOA).

Warning signs of a potential scam

  • Anything that promotes something as free without a good reason.
  • The promise of big returns on your investment – with little or no extra risk.
  • Seminars that are free, but demand you pay hefty fees for education at the end of the first day or night.
  • Investment seminars that offer to teach you “secret” or “exclusive” techniques for building riches.
  • High-pressure sales people who expect a decision on the spot.
  • Companies that claim to be approved by a government body or regulator without making their licence details available in writing.

6 ways to protect yourself and your super

  1. Use the commonsense approach: when something is free or sounds too good to be true, there is likely something wrong.
  2. The only people who “get rich quick” in these promotions are the scammers.
  3. Be careful when friends tell you about a scheme: they (innocently) believe it’s real, too.
  4. Avoid spam email where you did not sign up.
  5. Check with the appropriate regulator to make sure the promoter is licensed to offer the advice.
  6. Always make sure you get any financial advice in writing.
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About the Blogger

Robert Stevens

Robert Stevens

Working over half his years in the finance and property industries, Robert Stevens is a certified practising accountant, financial planner and mortgage broker.

Starting as an Accountant in Adelaide, Robert then moved into financial services working for investment banks before becoming a co-founder of Allied Investment Group.

Robert loves helping people achieve their lifestyle goals and has helped hundreds of people tackle the complex world of investing and plan for comfortable retirement.

 

FROM THE WEB

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Many investors who would have been successfully approved for finance last year are struggling now to either begin or continue their property investment journey because of the current financial climate.

In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, broker John Manciamelli and Momentum Media director Alex Whitlock joins host Tim Neary to discuss how APRA changes and the royal commission have resulted in a tighter lending economy and what that means for Australian investors.

They discuss what traps investors should avoid if they are trying to obtain finance, the four key growth drivers in a property market and unpacking trust structures while revealing one type of trust that you should miss.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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When buying property, it’s important to focus on what’s important. Investor Katarina Taurian shares just what exactly is important to her: having the mindset of looking past superficial cosmetic matters and homing in on the structural suitability and potential of a property.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Katarina joins host Tim Neary to unpack her entry into the property market and experiences of rentvesting, and how the Smart Property Investment Show was vital  in a number of decisions which she made along the way.

Katarina discusses about the team that she had help her along the way, why she thinks that you should never skimp on a good solicitor and accountant, and the red flags which tell her why buying a new property doesn’t necessarily mean buying a better property.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Why buying new property doesn’t mean buying better property
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  ["title"]=>
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Media hype would have you believe that the Australian property market is in dire circumstances at the moment and that there is no money to be made.  But is that really the case?

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, regular guests Steve and Victor of Right Property Group join host Phil Tarrant to discuss the current state of the Australian property market as it is portrayed in the media, and analyse if things are as dire as we are being led to believe.

They will compare regional markets with capital cities as investment options, reveal some areas which they consider to be poor investments at the moment while also discussing some of the markets where they see future potential.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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AREAS MENTIONED: 

Hobart
Sydney
Perth
Brisbane
Shepparton
Cambridge Park
Geelong
Wollongong
Melbourne
Newcastle
Orange
Dubbo
Bathurst
Armidale
Bendigo
Cairns
Ipswich
Emerald
Port Hedland
Surfers Paradise

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Busting perceptions of a doom and gloom property market

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