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shares sting *****

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    Shares sting: don’t be sucked in
    9 January 2003
    Reporter: Tammi Faraday

    Investing in shares could be considered a little risky by some. But it’s not just the fluctuating market that’s affecting Australian shareholders. As ACA reports, an unscrupulous scheme is catching unsuspecting investors by surprise and duping them out of their money.

    Through his Melbourne-based company, National Exchange Proprietary Limited, David Tweed is the mastermind behind the scheme in question – a mail scam which involves enticing investors to part with their shares at grossly unvalued prices.

    Retired grandfather Robert Lambert - a shareholder with Insurance Australia Group Limited - is one of the many innocent investors who received an “offer” from Tweed.

    “They offered me $1.50 for each of my shares, which I know are selling on the stock exchange at the moment for $2.75 … They’re asking for these shares at about a 30 percent discount,” he says.

    AMP shareholder Peter McAdam was also contacted by Tweed’s company. But he soon twigged something was wrong when Mr Tweed offered him a share price of $7.50 instead of the going rate, which was $11.37 at the time.

    Peter says it’s an issue of buyer beware because Tweed preys on people who don’t necessarily have a great deal of knowledge about the share market.

    “It just seems to me that it’s unconscionable conduct by this Mr Tweed or National Exchange Proprietary Limited … People that don’t understand the share market, people that don’t have an advisor would look at this and say it looks like an official letter,” he says.

    Peter Kell from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission shares these concerns and recommends the following:

    “Check what the current price is, look at dealings through a stock broker or an online stock broker, it’s really not that expensive these days, and don’t sell unless you can get a really good deal,” he says.

    IAG shareholder John Maythers is also troubled by the scam, which he fears may affect the elderly and other vulnerable investors who could be cash-strapped after Christmas. He advises shareholders to be wary.

    “Do not send anything away, don’t even sign the paper because if they do, immediately when they sign that paper, they’re signing away all the shares that they’ve gained and could quite well be ripped off,” he cautions.

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