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Have you ever received an email or phone call about a fantastic investment opportunity? If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

However, it is becoming harder and harder to spot a scam as scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to trick Australians. Many opportunities look professional and genuine, so how can you spot a property scam and how can you protect yourself?

Telemarketers: Telemarketers are very cheap for scammers and they will be extremely persistent to get you to sign up straight away and will often say this deal is for a limited time. It is important to remember that you should not make a decision over the phone. But, if you are interested in the offer, ask if you can call them back and if they are unwilling to give you a number, it is usually a sign they are not legitimate.

Email offers: Scammers may send you ‘special offer’ emails. Scammers impersonate companies you are already involved with, such as your bank, so it is important to check the source of the email and never send personal information via email. If you receive any suspicious looking emails, do not open them and delete them straight away.

Investment Seminars: You may receive invitations to investment seminars which claim that you can ‘get rich quick.’ Scammers will often offer free tickets for the first seminar, but then they charge expensive fees for future events. Also, be wary of seminars that offer exclusive deals and industry secrets as scammers can use these selling points to pull you in.

Use credible names: As mentioned above, scammers may associate themselves with reputable companies to improve their credibility. So, if you are contacted by someone who is claiming to be a representative of your bank or another company you are associated with and they are asking for information, you should contact the company directly before giving any information.  If you are unsure of the company name, take a look at the ASIC website to see if it is registered.

Although it can be difficult to spot a scam, there are ways to protect not only yourself, but others from losing money to a scammer.

Do Not Call Register: This will remove your details from the telemarketer phone lists. If you still receive calls from telemarketers, you can report them and they will be fined.

Spread the word: If you are constantly receiving phone calls from telemarketers, then chances are other people are too. Help prevent your friends and family from losing money by telling them about your experiences. Social media is also a great way to tell everyone you know what to look out for.