There are various types of investment fraud but they have one common feature - the promise of a high return with low risk to your investment.
How does this scam work?
You'll usually get an unexpected phone call or email offering you an 'exciting investment opportunity'. This could be anything from land, shares, wine, oil, gold or other high value jewels.
The scammers use high-pressure sales tactics to try and get you to part with your cash, but the investment always turns out to be worthless, impossible to sell - or just non-existent. It may even seem legitimate for a while, looking like it's making money - until you then come to realise your investment.
Stay safe - follow this advice
- If you're considering any type of investment, remember - if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Be especially wary if the initial contact is a cold call or unsolicited email or letter. Authorised firms are unlikely to contact you in this way.
- Don't be pressured into making a hasty decision.
- The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorises stockbroking firms based in the UK. You can check a firm's authenticity by visiting the FCA's Register of authorised firms
Or, call the FCA's consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768.
- Fraudsters often imitate reputable authorised firms, so confirm the scheme is genuine by calling the firm yourself. Use the contact details from the FCA register.
- Consider obtaining independent professional advice before making any investment decision, particularly if you're not familiar with that type of investment.
You can visit the FCA website to find out more about investment fraud and other scams.
- Break off all contact with the fraudster at once.
- Report the fraud to the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768, or use the FCA's online reporting form.
- Also, report it to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online.
- Alert your bank or building society immediately if you think you may have given fraudsters any of your account or security details
- Be aware that you may be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they've successfully targeted or approached, and use different identities to commit further frauds.
- People who've already fallen victim once are particularly vulnerable to the 'fraud recovery fraud'. This is when fraudsters, posing as law enforcement officers or lawyers, contact people who've already lost money through fraud. They advise the victim that they can help them recover their lost money - but request a fee. Genuine law enforcement officers will never request a fee. Always make sure you report any fraud to Action Fraud yourself.