Never bet on high-risk investment schemes

Following recent media reports, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is renewing its warning to Queenslanders not to be duped by high-risk investment schemes.

Three Gold Coast-based business – UK Home Based Business, Lay Trading Solutions and Pegasus Trader – have been identified in media reports as sports betting schemes alleged to have cost victims substantial sums of money.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the OFT held concerns that Queenslanders were still choosing to put money into high-risk investment schemes despite previous warnings.

“The only people who make money from these schemes are the operators,” Mr Bauer said. “Promoters promise high returns for little or no risk, but the reality is that the schemes don’t deliver.

“Ask yourself, if someone had a way to beat the system and make guaranteed returns, why wouldn’t they make their money doing just that? Why would they need to sell their scheme to you?

“There is no such thing as a risk-free high-return investment.

“If you are planning to put a substantial amount of money into any scheme or investment, always get independent financial advice beforehand.”

High-risk investment schemes come in a variety of forms, including betting on sports and horse racing, buying and selling stock, playing currency markets or participating in betting syndicates.

The schemes are often marketed as stay-at-home business opportunities, usually by print or online advertising, unsolicited phone calls or spam emails.

Mr Bauer said the schemes often attempt to portray legitimacy by having a professional-looking website or brochure and highlighting that they have a registered business name or number.

“Don’t let this fool you – registering an Australian business name or number requires no credential checks and should not be taken as an indicator of legitimacy.”