Investment Fraud

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What are investment Scams?

  • Investment scams is where criminals attempt to steal the money you want to invest.
  • They try to convince you to invest in a scheme, shares, or commodities, which either don’t exist, or aren’t worth the money paid for them.
  • Criminals can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible-looking websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.

What to look out for

  • Criminals are aware ‘cold calling’ tactics are widely warned about and they have moved on to other methods to find victims. For example, they may host fake comparison sites that give the impression that you found the investment yourself, meaning it’s less likely to be considered a scam.
  • Fraudsters know customers will be more inclined to invest with well-known firms, so they create a ‘clone firm’. Cloned firms are the criminal’s way of overcoming checks that they expect potential investors to carry out before agreeing to an investment. By pretending to be a legitimate firm, the potential investor will get a positive response when they:
    • Check the firm is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
    • Investigate online reviews on the company
    • Receive legitimate looking documentation
  • Criminals copy legitimate reference numbers (FRN number) and encourage victims to check the FCA register to make them look like they are acting on the behalf of a legitimate firm.
  • Always use the contact details on the FCA register, not the details the firm gives you. You can search by entering its name, reference number (FRN number) or postcode.
  • You can search the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) list of unauthorised businesses which is updated regularly to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. They list businesses believed to be involved in fraudulent activities.

Actions you can take

  • Share this page with family members and colleagues, so they know what to look out for.
  • Never get talked into an investment or use the financial advisor that may be suggested by the company offering the financial product. Always check independently. Seek reputable independent/legal advice before you commit.
  • Visit the FCA “ScamSmart” website which gives you tips on how to spot the techniques used by fraudsters.

Always think twice and make double checking second nature

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Take Five to stop fraud

Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.

Need to report a fraud or a scam?

Other ways to get help

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