Thousands of Aussies caught in super fund scam

Over 8,000 Australian taxpayers have been caught illegally plundering their superannuation accounts this financial year, it has been revealed.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) said cheats have been using self-managed super funds to access money that would otherwise be locked away until the account holder reaches the age of 60.

ATO assistant commissioner Stuart Forsyth said people were siphoning off money to fund shopping sprees or buy homes which they rent at a discount.

He noted that in most cases the cash is shifted from an approved major fund into a self-managed fund.

The scam costs taxpayers millions of dollars because of lucrative tax breaks on super contributions. It suggests Aussies unhappy with the management of their super funds should consider alternative investments and compare savings accounts in search of better returns.

Meanwhile, it was revealed earlier this week that the latest sharp downturn in the equity markets has cut an estimated 3.5 per cent from growth-style superannuation accounts.

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