ASIC tweaks foreign insecurities

Australia's fixation with technology stocks is the latest target of overseas investment scammers, according to the Australian Investments and Securities Commission.

The investment watchdog issued a warning yesterday advising Australians not to fall prey to offers from overseas brokers who claim to be engaged in "leading-edge" technology investment schemes.

The offers typically involved supposed listing on well-known overseas exchanges such as the Nasdaq, ASIC warned.

The commission stressed that brokers spruiking their services from overseas were often not equipped with ASIC licences and did not offer any prospectus to potential investors. Australians who invest under illegal conditions such as these risk losing any legal protection of their investment, ASIC warned.

These offers were typically arriving via "cold" telephone calls, ASIC warned. The calls reported were originating in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and the US, ASIC said. Company names reportedly used by the overseas scammers included the Kensington Group, Vantage International and Berkeley Samson.

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