News & analysis
News & analysis

ASIC shuts down nearly 3,500 scam websites, steps up surveillances in push to protect consumers

4 April 2024 By GO Markets


New data has revealed nearly 3,500 investment scam websites have been knocked out by ASIC’s scam website takedown capability since it was launched in July 2023, as ASIC sharpens its efforts to protect Australians from digitally enabled misconduct.

ASIC’s latest enforcement and regulatory update highlights the regulator’s investment scams disruption work, as well as its focus on surveillance activity to minimise and prevent consumer harm, targeting market integrity, greenwashing and insurance failures and promoting compliance with the law.

ASIC Chair Joe Longo said, ‘Cost of living issues mean more Australians are looking for ways to make ends meet and scammers are only too happy to try and take advantage. That’s why ASIC is stopping investment scams at the source of their promotion, removing them from the internet before they can lure in unsuspecting consumers.

‘We’ve already examined the way major banks detect, prevent and respond to scams, resulting in ASIC setting expectations that all financial institutions take steps to improve their approaches. We have now turned our attention to a broader range of banks and superannuation trustees to ensure they’re doing all they can to protect their members and customers from predatory scammers.’

Mr Longo also pointed to significant results across ASIC’s regulatory and enforcement arms and flagged further action to come.

‘In the half year to 31 December 2023, ASIC secured almost $60 million in civil penalties and 9 criminal convictions. We launched 83 new investigations, commenced 19 new civil proceedings, criminally charged 19 individuals and completed nearly 350 surveillances. ASIC is in courts and boardrooms across Australia almost every single day of the week,’ he said.

‘Australians can continue to expect significant regulatory and surveillance work from ASIC in the coming months. We are scrutinising the way lenders comply with their hardship obligations, how banks support First Nations consumers to access low-fee accounts, and how superannuation trustees deliver important member services, such as how they handle death benefits claims. We will continue to work to ensure the financial system works for all Australians,’ concluded Mr Longo.

ASIC’s results at a glance

  • 83 investigations commenced
  • 15 months – average length of civil investigations
  • 24 months – average length of criminal investigations
  • 80% – civil litigations and criminal litigations successfully completed
  • $59.8 million – civil penalties imposed by courts
  • 9 criminal convictions
  • 347 surveillances completed
  • 19 new civil proceedings filed
  • 19 new criminal litigations commenced (individuals charged)

Source: The Australian Securities & Investments Commission. Original article available here.

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