24-037MR ASIC shuts down nearly 3,500 scam websites, steps up surveillances in push to protect consumers

New data has revealed that almost 3,500 fraudulent investment websites have been removed by ASIC's fraudulent website removal capability since its launch in July 2023, as ASIC steps up its efforts to protect Australians from digitally enabled misconduct.

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

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

'We have already examined how major banks detect, prevent and respond to scams, which has resulted in ASIC setting expectations for all financial institutions to take steps to improve their approaches. We have now turned our attention to a wider range of banks and pension trustees to ensure they are doing everything they can to protect their members and customers from predatory fraudsters.'

Longo also highlighted significant results across ASIC's regulatory and enforcement branches and noted further action to come.

'In the six months to December 31, 2023, ASIC obtained almost $60 million in civil penalties and 9 criminal convictions. We initiated 83 new investigations, initiated 19 new civil proceedings, criminally charged 19 people, and completed almost 350 surveillances. “ASIC is in courts and boardrooms across Australia almost every day of the week,” he said.

'Australians can continue to expect significant regulatory and oversight work from ASIC in the coming months. We're looking at how lenders meet their obligations in the event of a hardship, how banks support First Nations consumers to access low-fee accounts, and how retirement administrators provide important services to members, such as for example how they handle death benefit claims. "We will continue to work to ensure the financial system works for all Australians," Mr Longo concluded.

ASIC results at a glance

ASIC results at a glance - text version

  • 83 investigations began
  • 15 months - average duration of civil investigations
  • 24 months - average duration of criminal investigations
  • 80% - civil litigation and criminal litigation successfully completed
  • $59.8 million - civil penalties tax by the courts
  • 9 criminals convictions
  • 347 surveillance finished
  • 19 new civil proceedings archived
  • 19 new criminal litigation initiated (indicted individuals)

Discharge

Report 780 ASIC Regulatory and Enforcement Update: October to December 2023

Summary of application results

Regulatory news calendar

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