The clone company scam is where scammers make use of a real company’s name and reputation and trade on that to convince victims that they are legitimate. The actual company generally knows nothing about this until they start to get complaints.
City Watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority has increasingly been issuing warnings about this fraud (142 warnings in first half of 2019). Many of the companies involved are in the financial sector such as wealth managers, pension funds, mortgage companies, loan providers etc. but it can happen to any company.
Fraudsters may copy the company’s website, letter head etc. – anything to convince the victims for long enough to steal their money.
The big advantage for fraudsters in using someone else’s company name is that and potential victims checking online will find a reputable business.
If you are interested in any kind of investment or loan, do verify that the company is legitimate – check the FCA financial services register at www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register or call their consumer helpline on 0800 111-6768
Never trust cold callers – anyone calling from a company you don’t already do business with, to offer any kind of investment or loan will likely be a scammer.
Never click on links in emails from people you don’t know.
If you have any experiences with this scam do let me know, by email.