Don’t believe everything you see on social media
It seems that some people are using social media marketing to promote scam services, says the Australian Taxation Office.
In an interactive YouTube clip, financial commentator and chairman of the federal government's financial literacy board Paul Clithereo warns people to keep their wits about them when presented with seemingly ideal tax avoidance schemes.
"These promoters rely on people pretending to understand what are often incomprehensible schemes," Mr Clithereo explains in the video.
He said that this is especially problematic when on the surface these offers can appear to be reputable.
"Tax schemes and their promoters can look and sound very professional, can have very slick marketing material, they can advertise in respectable publications and they can spin a very convincing story," he added.
Tax commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo identified social media as an area they may be likely to target.
"Many are marketed via social media or glossy promotional brochures, with offers of exclusivity and the stamp of approval from so-called experts," he explained in a statement on May 1.
Officials in the United States are also warning people to pay attention when using networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released an article called Tips for Seniors on May 5, outlining possible fraud risks and giving advice on how to avoid them.
"While social media can provide many benefits, it also presents opportunities for fraudsters targeting older Americans," the bulletin reads.
"As a result, seniors need to proceed with caution when using social media as part of their investment process."
With an abundance of marketing campaigns online, it can be difficult to find the difference between a genuine service and one that is simply profiting from the openness, ease and influence of social media strategy.
It may be worth doing some independent research, such as visiting the website, calling the head office or asking for a second opinion, before you commit yourself to anything.
Posted by Jess O'Connor