Investment scams have cost West Australian victims almost $5 million this financial year with the average loss about $77,000.
WA ScamNet says 65 people have fallen foul of the bogus offers ranging from shares, to foreign exchange deals, binary options and cryptocurrencies.
The victims responded to cold callers, emails and enticing advertisements on social media making false claims of low risk and high returns.
WA ScamNet says several advertisements used the stolen images of celebrities and prominent businesspeople to give the impression of authenticity.
Some recent victims reported meeting the scammers through dating websites and apps and were presented with an investment opportunity after an online relationship was established.
Similar losses were reported last financial year with 63 WA victims losing $5.9 million.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said the financial impact on victims was substantial.
“The investment scams are backed up by clever salespeople who use hard-sell tactics and fake evidence of high returns to get people to part with their money,” Ms Chopping said.
“Professional looking fake websites and personal online accounts showing a growing balance are often used to make the investment look legitimate.
“It’s not until the investor asks to withdraw money that there is any indication that it’s a scam and a variety of excuses are used as to why withdrawals can’t be made.”
Though in some cases, the scammers allow for small amounts to be returned, hoping for more money to be invested.
Ms Chopping said the promotion of investments in Australia was strictly regulated, so investors should only deal with companies and agents registered with ASIC.
She said sometimes the identities of legitimate traders were also stolen, so checks with the business to confirm their authenticity were also important.