Early super access scam hits poor

ASIC and the ATO are targeting promoters of schemes offering super fund members early access to their benefits. The schemes' operators focus on low-income earners, people in financial difficulties, retrenched workers and people living in remote and rural communities. At worst, the operators steal super fund members' money by convincing them they can pay off bills and mortgages or put down deposits on homes by gaining access to the super benefits before retirement age. Typically, members are told to transfer their money from the current super funds to self-managed ones. The operators claim a fee for enabling this or skim a percentage of the assets. Members are told that once a self-managed fund is set up they, as trustees, can decide how the assets are spent. The operators charge commission of 20 per cent or more of the fund's assets.