Investment scams: Is it possible to get your money back?
Investment scams are a major problem and they are only getting worse in Singapore. There has been an alarming increase in the number of people who have lost money to investment scams. This type of scam also has the largest impact on those affected, with almost S$70 million cheated in more than 1,100 cases in 2020.
More widely known is the billion-dollar Envy “nickel trading scheme”, one of Singapore’s biggest suspected investment frauds where even top legal professionals have fallen victim to them. Yet - due to how sophisticated investment scams can appear -, victims oftentimes may not realise they have been duped until it is too late.
Immediate action to take in investment scams
Report the scam
Should you have fallen prey to such schemes, you can first reach out to the Singapore Police Force and National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) through the anti-scam hotline. Simply call 1800-722-6688 to be advised on your next course of action in the event you have been scammed.
This should be followed by filing a police report to get the case investigated to prevent more victims. In the meantime, you may prepare any evidence that is relevant to the scam. This can include screenshots of messages and email threads that may help in the investigation down the line if necessary.
Additionally, if you have provided your personal or financial details to the scammer, be sure to inform your bank immediately to look out for suspicious activity and prevent the risk of any fraudulent transactions.
File a civil claim
Depending on your situation, you may have the option to file a civil claim against the scammer to retrieve the money lost. An experienced investment fraud lawyer can advise you on the legal proceedings in Singapore and significantly improve your chances of recovering some, if not, all your money.
How to avoid getting scammed
In the case of new investors, it can be difficult to navigate the waters and avoid being taken advantage of. The best way to avoid investment scams is to be educated on how to identify them before you invest your money in anything.
1. Does the investment scheme offer high returns with little to no risk?
A general rule of thumb is to expect high risks where there are larger investment returns. Should the promised returns appear unrealistic with no logical explanation, this is a red flag of a questionable investment to avoid.
Do your due diligence to obtain as much information as possible to fully understand the investment opportunity. Avoid investments where the company does not disclose information about the risks involved or how the profits are generated. A trustworthy business will always provide this information so that potential investors can make an informed decision before investing money into the company.
2. Are they using pressure tactics?
Safeguard yourself against early bird offers and “limited-time-only” deals. These are common high-pressure sales tactics that scammers employ to persuade you to act quickly. Furthermore, note that the vast majority of investors do not offer commissions to investors for their referrals.
3. Is the investment regulated?
Finally, investment products are generally subjected to the appropriate financial regulations administered by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) or other relevant authorities. There are resources available to verify the credibility of the company, which will include the MAS’ Investor Alert List and Financial Institutions Directory.
Consult us today for legal advice
There is no shortage of companies out there that will come up with an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true. Unfortunately, these schemes are often carefully crafted to separate you from your money as quickly as possible without any regard for your personal safety or finances.
Should you find yourself at risk of losing your life savings, engage a specialised full-service law firm in Singapore to help you file a civil claim. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experienced investment fraud lawyers at Harry Elias.
For more information, please contact our Business Development Manager, Ricky Soetikno, at [email protected].