Reckless Oz regulator runs roughshod over rights

…if Section 313 sounds wide ranging, that’s because it is, and its use by ASIC is rather different.

ASIC has warned consumers about the activities of a cold-calling investment scam using the name ‘Global Capital Wealth’ … The scammers offer consumers opportunities to invest in a managed share trading fund, it wrote in a media release dated 22 March.

The scammers operate websites at www.globalcapitalwealth.com and www.globalcapitalaustralia.com, which purport to provide share trading services. ASIC has already blocked access to these websites.

ASIC’s concern is that the scammers, via their websites, promotional material, and cold calling, appear to be fraudulently using the Australian business number (ABN), Australian company number (ACN), and Australian financial services (AFS) licence number of Global Capital Resources Pty Ltd, a licensed financial services business with no connections to Global Capital Wealth.

Life and limb are not under threat here, nor are young children being abused. The only risk is about money — and, even then, the only people at risk are those too greedy or too stupid to realise that the deals being offered are too good to be true. That’s quite a bit of scope creep — especially since ASIC only has concern about what the sites appear to do.

ASIC made the mistake of requesting that access be blocked to the sites’ internet protocol (IP) address. More than 1,200 other sites used the same address — a common situation with commodity-grade shared internet hosting. That ASIC didn’t know this demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of how the internet works. It’s like putting road blocks around an entire suburb because one shop is selling dodgy merchandise. And the problem was compounded by not providing an explanatory web page — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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