The Cook Islands Sustainability Bond scam. FMA/22112319
Cook Islands authorities are embarrassed by the re-emergence of a phony bond scheme purporting to be from the Government.
The scam, which
features a false prospectus reputedly authored by Rabobank and the Cook Islands
government, has been uncovered by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in New
“FMA is concerned
that the investment offering, ‘The Cook Islands Sustainability Bond’, may be a
scam targeting New Zealanders,” the FMA’s recent statement says.
Cook Islands Prime
Minister Mark Brown has said he was disappointed that the country’s efforts to
entirely convert the country to sustainable and renewable energy were “being
targeted by crooks” as a potential way of stealing from investors.
A statement from
the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday says the Cook Islands
Finance Intelligence Unit (CIFIU) was first alerted to the scam in early
“The Cook Islands government does not have any bonds or investment
schemes that people can invest in,” the statement says.
“Banks and government agencies in both countries have been sharing
information and working collaboratively.
“It appears the scam was discovered before any funds could be misplaced.
Being vigilant and having sophisticated systems in place is what caught this
scam in time. Scammers are also sophisticated in their planning. People should
be extremely careful before they place their hard-earned savings into ‘bonds’
statement says individuals who submitted interest through the website
comparefixedtermdeposits.com were approached by a Mr Jacob Taylor, who claims
to be a senior investment manager at Rabobank.
presented a prospectus for the offering, which features Rabobank’s logo and
their CEO’s name, and were requested to transfer funds to a third-party
account. Rabobank has confirmed that they are not connected with this offer or
the individual purporting to work for them,” the statement says.
recommends undertaking due diligence and exercising caution before making any
A spokesperson for
Rabobank told Cook Islands News: “Since becoming aware of the fake product
disclosure statement, we’ve been working closely with the Financial Markets
Authority to raise awareness of this scam.”
taken to warn our customers about this scam include adding a pop-up banner at
the top of each page of our website warning site visitors about the fake
prospectus,” he said.
“This banner was
put up as soon as we became aware of the scam and remains on our site now. The
banner includes links which provide further detail about the scam as well as
said the bank had also posted on the Facebook page about the scam.
efforts to tell our customers about this fake disclosure statement, we also
regularly communicate information to them about how they can protect themselves
from scams,” he said.
communications direct customers to the Consumer Protection website and other
sites which provide information on how they can check for scams, recognise if
they’re being scammed, what to do about different types of scams, and how to
stay up to date with recent scam activity.
“In addition to
this, Rabobank, and other New Zealand banks, also work closely with the New Zealand
Banking Ombudsman to raise awareness of scams targeting New Zealand consumers.”