As we spend more time online, consuming vast amounts of content, it’s easy to forget that you can’t necessarily trust everything you read. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has recently published a number of articles warning consumers of some of the dangers of getting investment advice and information online.
In a recent article, ASIC revealed that it has received a number of reports of consumers losing money after responding to advertisements disguised as news articles. Often promoted via social media channels, articles can be found on websites impersonating reputable news outlets, and are typically promoting crypto assets, crypto currencies or contracts for difference (CFDs). Click on the ad and you’ll be directed to another site asking you to enter your name and contact details. You’ll then receive a call encouraging you to invest in a crypto or CFD asset promising unrealistically high returns. If it seems too good to be true …
Influencers offering financial product advice have been dubbed ‘finfluencers’. ASIC has warned consumers about acting on financial product advice given by influencers who don’t have an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence. Providing unlicensed advice is illegal and it’s likely the influencer is making a profit from the promotion, so they’re probably only looking after their own interests, not yours. ASIC is particularly concerned that first-time investors may not fully understand the risks of the products they are investing in.