In 2018, Australians lost almost $500 million to online scams. With the market for online scams being so lucrative, the scams are becoming intricately more complex and blurring the lines between fake and authentic. The latest Airbnb scam is just another example.
Internet scammers have identified a major segment within the investor market where investors are keen to invest in well known companies, many of which are not listed on a foreign sharemarket.
This elaborate Airbnb IPO website is just one example. If you click on the link to see the façade, DO NOT submit your personal details.
How the scam is presented
Internet users are presented a well designed website full of Airbnb logos. The page is owned by a fake business called ‘Stock Market Insider’ which has its own website.
Prospective investors are then asked to submit their personal contact details so that a stock broker can get in touch with them with more details about the investment. They request a phone number so that they can call you and talk over the phone for a more realistic approach.
Within the modern Stock Market Insider, the fraudulent company claims to have been operating for more than 24 years and has a history of backing hugely popular stocks. They claim to have recommended companies Netflix, Disney and Tesla to investors more than a decade ago.
A closer look at Stock Market Insider shows it was incorporated in 2018.
The company also has zero social media following and despite claiming on their site to have 300 employees, a search on LinkedIn shows one solitary worker.
Highlighting the earning potential from the scam, the creators put tens of thousands of dollars into Google Adwords to draw traffic to their site when internet users search general investing terms such as ‘trading’, ‘IPO’, ‘investing’ and ‘airbnb’.
How the scam works
Once you have submitted your personal details, you will receive a phone call from an unknown number.
The scammer on the other side of the line will be well informed about the company, IPOs and general investing language. This is because within many African nations, university graduates stand to make much more money via elaborate online scams than they do working honest jobs.
They will then proceed to give you bank account details to process payment for your participation in the IPO. The money will then go to an offshore bank account and never be seen again.
Unfortunately for hard working citizens who just want to get in on these big global companies from the bottom floor, scams such as the Airbnb IPO are presented very well and in a very elaborate manner. For this reason, Australian investors must be extremely vigilant when investing their money via online means.
Investors should always request Financial Services Guide prior to handing over their hard earned. Within this FSG, it will state who you are handing your money over to as well as details of their Australian Financial Services License or Australian Credit License.
Stay vigilant. There is no Airbnb IPO.