Ordinary households have recently been taken in by fraudulent international bond scams, with some people losing their life savings. The schemes claim to offer investments in international bond trading including "bank bond trading programs", "prime bank debenture trades" and "contractual international private placement bonds". A typical scam claims that the top 25 banks, US Treasury or governments secretly trade in these bank instruments so the tremendous profits are only available to insiders. Potential investors are invariably sworn to secrecy.
Most of the schemes promoted in New South Wales, including the International Benevolent Fund Trust (IBF), Direct Link Group, World Investment to Nurture Grow and Sustain, have been marketed through word of mouth, church and community groups and offer up to 2000 per cent return a year. The IBF scheme claims to have been set up by a pastor in the USA who knows the secret of how banks make their money. People are pressured to invest in the IBF by contacts in religious groups. As is common with such schemes, investors are required to sign an agreement in which they agree to use IBF exclusively for investment and to keep the identities of the parties to the investment confidential. When last heard of, the IBF had received at least $100,000 by a promoter in Sydney. The promoter of the scam in the USA is under investigation by the Alabama Securities Commission and Federal Authorities.