ASIC chief’s warn­ing about pan­demic scam­mers

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su­per­an­nu­a­tion for a fee. Don’t fall into this trap: there is no need to pay any­thing! It is a free ap­pli­ca­tion process, done through the ATO’s web­site.

Other scam­mers are spruik­ing high-re­turn in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. Re­mem­ber: If it sounds too good to be true, it prob­a­bly is.

ASIC’s MoneyS­mart.gov.au web­site has in­for­ma­tion about scams and mak­ing fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions, and can help you find a fi­nan­cial coun­sel­lor.

If you have to make big de­ci­sions in the com­ing months, take the time to get proper in­for­ma­tion and con­sider all of your op­tions.

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Your bank, in­sur­ance com­pany or su­per fund may be able to as­sist and there are fi­nan­cial coun­sel­lors and li­cenced fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers you can speak to. Get in touch with the Na­tional Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 if you’re strug­gling with debt. Find out about Gov­ern­ment sup­port pro­grams for in­di­vid­u­als and small busi­nesses.

If you’re hav­ing prob­lems pay­ing your mort­gage, talk to your lender ASAP.

Many banks are of­fer­ing six-month re­pay­ment de­fer­rals on mort­gages but be aware that you will ac­crue in­ter­est pay­ments.

If your bank is un­help­ful, you can con­tact their in­ter­nal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion team. If you’re still un­sat­is­fied, con­tact the Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Com­plaints Author­ity to seek free, in­de­pen­dent dis­pute res­o­lu­tion.

If you de­cide to with­draw

an­thony.keane@news.com.au | su­per­an­nu­a­tion, sub­mit your ap­pli­ca­tion via the ATO’s web­site and they will as­sess your ap­pli­ca­tion for free.

With­draw­ing su­per to in­vest else­where is not what the scheme is de­signed for and is not ad­vis­able – do not let any­one tell you dif­fer­ent.

If you have a life in­sur­ance pol­icy, be aware of what you are and are not cov­ered for – ask your provider if you’re un­sure.

If you are con­sid­er­ing chang­ing your life in­sur­ance provider, make sure you won’t lose cov­er­age and make es­pe­cially sure your new pol­icy cov­ers you in the event you’re im­pacted by COVID-19.

If you are strug­gling to pay bills or lo­cal coun­cil rates, do not seek out a pay­day loan. In­stead, talk to your ser­vice provider or coun­cil. You might be el­i­gi­ble for re­bates and vouch­ers, or you may be able to ar­range a pay­ment plan that works for you.

Ul­ti­mately, you should plan ahead, think your fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions through, and seek de­cent, trust­wor­thy in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice.

COVID-19 will end, but the im­pact of a poor or hasty fi­nan­cial de­ci­sion may not. James Shipton is chair of the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion

If you are strug­gling to pay bills or lo­cal coun­cil rates, do not seek out a pay­day loan ... You might be el­i­gi­ble for re­bates and vouch­ers

so­phie.elsworth@news.com.au

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