The recent incident of fraudulent activities carried out by Melissa Caddick has raised the much-needed awareness for protecting your super. Melissa Caddick is accused of swindling clients, including friends and family, for millions of dollars through her finance business Maliver Pty Ltd. She allegedly stole $25-$40m in money from her investors to fund her lavish lifestyle, which included luxury cars, expensive travel bills, thousands of dollars on high-end luxury brands including Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and more.
On November 11, Australian Federal Police on behalf of ASIC raided her home in NSW and froze all her assets. She has since disappeared, leaving behind family, investors losing their savings and police chasing dead ends.
As small business accountants, we have deep sympathy for the investors who lost their super savings, many of them being elderly individuals preparing to retire shortly. Hopefully, ASIC will sell off her confiscated assets soon and use the proceeds from the sale to compensate the investors. The investors may recover some portion of their savings which is better than losing everything.
This unethical behaviour has raised serious concerns about safeguarding your super savings. Here are a few tips to help you keep your super safe:
- Ensure your postal mailbox is secure to avoid your mail being stolen. These documents contain sensitive information such as TFN which can be used to carry out fraudulent activities.
- Protect your documents. Ensure all your printed copies are stored safely. Ensure your digital copies are stored in a password-protected folder. Lastly, always shred any documents that you choose to dispose of.
- Never provide any personal or financial information over the phone to any person, company, or website without confirming their identity. Scammers claiming to be ATO personnel are one of the leading culprits for identity theft. ATO never asks for your personal/financial information over the phone.
- Phishing emails often contain links which advertise schemes such as “access your super early”, “use this one tip to retire stress-free”, “guaranteed high investment returns”. Make sure you mark these emails as junk and block the sender. This will help your email provider to recognise the pattern and automatically block and send such emails to junk in the future.
- Contact 1300 300 630 to report suspected fraud. This will help ASIC to recognise new schemes used by scammers and devise safety measures to protect the public.
- Always seek independent financial advice before investing!
- Use ASIC’s Financial Advisers Register to check if your financial advisor is licensed.
Cheryl and Faye, one of the many investors who entrusted Melissa Caddick with their superannuation. Read their story here on ABC News.
Read more about the ‘Con artist of the century‘ in The Sydney Morning Herald.