Ripped off – a billion reasons to look beyond the paperwork

Ripped Off in Asia

It was recently reported that ANZ and Westpac, two of Australia’s leading financial institutions, have been caught out by fraudulent income documents from Chinese investors for loans totalling almost $1billion AUD.

Banks are not the only ones to be caught out by these antics. In our line of work, we’re all too familiar with stories of investors that have been ripped off in Asia after trusting the authenticity of a local passport or a company registration.

Too often we are approached by investors who’ve been duped in a scam involving forged business cards and letterheads. This is just the beginning. Scammers can be highly sophisticated, often altering or outright manufacturing passports, resident cards, bank accounts and even permits supposedly issued by government.

The arrest of two police officers for forgery in Cambodia last week shows the realities of identity fraud in Asia.

Forgeries are all too common now and investors consistently fail to verify these documents from the country of origin. Its not easy to verify these documents, but its essential. Don’t join the ranks of those caught out by ‘blind trust’ or a ‘she’ll be right” attitude. This failure to do integrity due diligence costs investors in Asia significant amounts, with alarming regularity.