Can you spot a risky (and illegal) super scheme?

Did you know that many pre-retirees get targeted every year by dubious individuals pushing dodgy and illegal super schemes on them?

05 Jun 2018

It’s generally the promise of “significant returns”, “little to no risk” and “big tax breaks” that encourages some people to invest in these schemes too.

And if you do get caught investing in an illegal super scheme identified by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), you may  incur severe penalties under the tax and superannuation laws  and you risk losing  your retirement nest egg (even if you don’t know the scheme is illegal).

Raising the alarm is the ATO in its current Super Scheme Smart campaign (which you’ll probably see on TV and in newspapers), warning anyone 50 years and over who wants to invest significant amounts of money into super to be careful. Especially if they are considering a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

So to help you spot a risky (and illegal) retirement scheme, here are six common features to be aware of as revealed in the ATO’s awareness campaign:

  1. The scheme is very complex
  2. The scheme is connected with an SMSF
  3. The scheme involves lots of paperwork (and paper shuffling)
  4. The scheme is designed to reduce your tax bill to zero (or even give you a refund)
  5. The scheme aims to give a present day tax benefit
  6. The scheme sounds ‘too good to be true’.


The best way to protect yourself, however, from getting duped into an illegal super scheme (or any other fraudulent financial product) is to get the right advice beforehand. That means getting personal financial advice from a licensed financial planner you trust.

Industry Fund Services (IFS) is the only provider with whom CSC (your trustee) has partnered to provide a personal and trusted financial advice service to our members.  Don’t risk getting the wrong advice. Get advice you can trust.

To find out more and book an initial appointment, visit your scheme website:

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