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Posts Tagged ACCC

ASIC’s new alert list offers guidance on suspicious investment “opportunities”

19th Dec, 2023

As a part of the government strategy to target investment scams, ASIC and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – through the newly formed National Anti-Scam Centre – have published an investor alert list which may help consumers to identify whether entities they are considering investing with could be fraudulent, running a scam or unlicensed. While the list is not exhaustive, as new scams are appearing every day, any reduction of consumer harm, financially and non-financially, is surely a positive step.

According to the National Anti-Scam Centre, which commenced operation on 1 July 2023, Australians reported a record $3.1 billion of losses to scams the previous year. The Centre is already making inroads by highlighting the most harmful scams and making it easier for Australians to report scammers, and it will build its capabilities over the next three years, working on a new system to improve scam data-sharing across government and the private sector.

The new investor alert list replaces the previous list of “companies you should not deal with” issued by ASIC, and has the advantage of including both domestic and international entities that regulators are concerned about. These concerns largely relate to entities operating and offering services to Australians without appropriate licenses, exemptions, authorisation or permission. The alert list also includes entities that run impersonation scams, falsely claiming to be associated with legitimate and often well-known businesses.

ASIC recommends conducting the following checks before handing over any investment money:

  • Check whether the company or person is licensed or authorised: generally, a company or finance professional must hold an Australian financial services (AFS) licence to issue or sell investments in Australia, or they must be an authorised representative of an AFS licence holder.
  • Understand how the investment works: ASIC recommends obtaining a product disclosure statement (PDS) or prospectus from the public website for the company, speaking to a financial adviser and/or searching ASIC’s Offer Noticeboard.
  • Check for common signs of an investment scam: confirm the company’s details through open- source searches and consider calling the number on the public website. Be wary of any offer documents sent by email.

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FEDERAL BUDGET | Cost of Living Measures

31st Mar, 2022

One-off $250 cost of living payment

The Government will make a $250 one-off cost of living payment in April 2022 to six million eligible pensioners, welfare recipients, veterans and eligible concession card holders.

The $250 payment will be tax-exempt and not count as income support for the purposes of any Government income support. A person can only receive one economic support payment, even if they are eligible under two or more of the eligible categories.

The payment will only be available to Australian residents who are eligible recipients of the following payments, and to concession card holders:

  • Age Pension;
  • Disability Support Pension;
  • Parenting Payment;
  • Carer Payment;
  • Carer Allowance (if not receiving a primary income support payment);
  • Jobseeker Payment;
  • Youth Allowance;
  • Austudy and Abstudy Living Allowance;
  • Double Orphan Pension;
  • Special Benefit;
  • Farm Household Allowance;
  • Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders;
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders; and
  • eligible Veterans’ Affairs payment recipients and Veteran Gold card

Temporary reduction in fuel excise

The Government will reduce the excise and excise- equivalent customs duty rate that applies to petrol and diesel by 50% for six months. The excise and excise- equivalent customs duty rates for all other fuel and petroleum-based products, except aviation fuels, will also be reduced by 50% for six months.

The Treasurer said this measure will see excise on petrol and diesel cut from 44.2 cents per litre to 22.1 cents. Mr Frydenberg said a family with two cars who fill up once a week could save around $30 a week, or around $700 over the next six months. The Treasurer made a point of emphasising that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will monitor the price behaviour of retailers to ensure that the lower excise rate is fully passed on.

The measure will commence from 12.01 am on 30 March 2022 and will remain in place for six months, ending at 11.59 pm on 28 September 2022.

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