There are many scams that operate by cold calling or emailing people about a fantastic new investment opportunity – usually only available to a few people and you must decide NOW or it will be too late.
These can be very lucrative scams as potentially a lot of money is involved. But they can be devastating to the people caught out who may lose their nest egg, savings or pension.
How to Avoid These Scams
- If you are cold called about an investment opportunity – end the call straightaway. Reputable organisations do not cold call in this manner.
- If you are called and the person claims to have spoken with you before or to be calling about a brochure or email they sent to you – just end the call (unless of course you do have the brochure and are interested)
Investment fraud is often sophisticated, well organised and difficult to spot. Fraudsters can be highly educated and seem financially knowledgeable. They may have credible websites, testimonials and materials that can be hard to distinguish from the real thing.
However, if you are interested in an investment opportunity, then you need to check on the company and the offer thoroughly.
How to Check a Company
Step 1: Check if a firm is authorised or registered at https://register.fca.org.uk/
Check the Register to see whether a firm or individual is authorised by us or registered. You should access the Register from our website, rather than through links in emails or on the website of a firm offering you an investment. Also check the address of our website is correct and there are not subtle changes that mean it is a fake.
To confirm the identity of an authorised firm on the Register, ask for their ‘firm reference number’ (FRN) and contact details, but always call them back on the switchboard number given on the Register rather than a direct line they might give you.
If you deal with an unauthorised firm you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (link is external) or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (link is external) (FSCS) if things go wrong.
Step 2: Check the FCA Warning List at https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/unauthorised-firms-individuals
Firms and individuals can only conduct regulated financial services activities in the UK if they are authorised by the FCA or registered to do so, or are otherwise exempt.
Step 3: Genuine Names
Beware of fraudsters pretending to be from a firm authorised by us, as it could be a ‘cloned firm’. These scammers often claim to be from overseas firms that appear on the Register as these firms do not always have their full contact and website details listed.
Step 4: Check the Company’s website, look for testimonials and reviews on independent websites, companies house records etc.
Step 5: Ideally get independent financial advice.
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