Visit FIDO, ASIC’s website for consumers and investors for financial…

Visit FIDO, ASIC’s website for consumers and investors for financial tips
and safety checks, www.fido.gov.au

Wednesday 13 December 2006 – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – Australian investors are again being urged to beware of scammers posing as overseas brokers and investment managers after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) received information about a cold calling investment scam. ASIC is making enquiries into Millennium Futures Ltd which claims to be a member of the non-existent New York Petroleum Option Exchange (NYPOE) and a full-service brokerage firm dealing in commodity, futures and options trading.

‘Millennium Futures Ltd is not registered with ASIC and is not authorised to provide financial services in Australia’, ASIC’s Executive Director of Consumer Protection, Mr Greg Tanzer said. It appears that Millennium Futures Ltd may be using the identity of a legitimate firm in the United States, Millennium Futures Group Inc, a non-clearing member firm of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). ASIC recently froze the bank accounts of other cold-calling operations including HPR Commodities, Vitol Capital Management and York Commodities, which have targeted hundreds of Australians.

This has prompted ASIC to reiterate its warning about scammers posing as overseas stockbrokers and investment managers. This scam uses an array of business names and stock exchanges, targeting heating, petroleum or other commodity-based investment options. The scammers ask investors to forward money to an alleged clearing house overseas, including locations in Hong Kong and Malaysia.

‘ASIC encourages investors to be vigilant regarding cold calling operations and to deal only with brokers and investment managers who hold an Australian financial services licence. ASIC is warning Australians not to get caught up in the scam and warning those who may already be involved, not to send any further money overseas’, Mr Tanzer said. Background Cold calling is a sales call or offer that is received out of the blue. These scams usually involve overseas organisations claiming to be large brokers or investment managers offering Australian investors shares in offshore companies or investment schemes that trade in foreign markets. The best protection against these scams is to hang up immediately. Further information on the recent action ASIC has taken against similar cold-calling schemes is included in ASIC Media Release 06-408.

To check the register of licensed financial services businesses go to www.fido.gov.au and click on ‘Licensed financial services businesses’, or call ASIC’s Infoline on 1300 300 630. To find out more about cold calling scams and how to avoid them, read ASIC’s cold calling tips at www.fido.gov.au/coldcalling. Complaints regarding Millennium Futures Ltd or other investment scams may be lodged with ASIC via our website at www.asic.gov.au or by writing to any of our capital city offices across Australia at: Manager National Assessment & Action ASIC GPO Box 9827 Melbourne VIC 3001 For further information contact: Mr Greg Tanzer Executive Director, Consumer Protection Telephone: 07 3867 4704 Mobile: 0411 549 144 Danielle Huck ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3407 Mobile: 0417 540 769 Page 2 of 2

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