Investment fraud takes many forms. Read below to find out more and learn what to look for to protect your investments from fraud.
As traditional investments become less popular due to lower returns, high yield investments have become more attractive to fraudsters.
High yield investments are generally considered to include shares, undeveloped land, wine and collectables such as art or classic cars. The average victim of an investment scam loses £20,000. The main type we will cover are Share Scams and we will touch on some others. It is impossible to describe how each scheme works as the only boundaries that are known are the scope and depth of the fraudster’s imagination. Some examples are:
- Share purchase is where a fake company offers a unique guaranteed opportunity. This will be covered more in depth below.
- Undeveloped land sold in small plots on the premise of gaining planning permission for housing.
- Wine investment sold later for a large tax free profit.
- Banks from remote areas of the world offering Bank Guarantees for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Fraudsters will normally cold call you normally by telephone and try to sell you share investments that will supposedly lead to huge financial returns. In reality they either do not exist or are worthless.
Often the fraudsters will give you details that you might think only a genuine investment company will have. They may have details of previous investments you have made, shares you hold and know your personal circumstances. Be aware the fraudsters will do their homework and make it their business to know as much about you as possible.
The fraudsters will often call you a number of times slowly developing a friendly relationship. If you respond in anyway they will persist, build trust and eventually persuade you to part with your money. Having obtained some money from you, they will probably call again and try to persuade you to “invest” further money, perhaps in a different commodity e.g. wine or carbon credits.
Fraudsters may say they are from a well-known and reputable investment company some will say they are stockbrokers and some pretend to be investors.
- Do not respond to callers trying to sell you investments. Simply hang up the telephone.
- Don’t let the company pressure you into buying because they say the offer won’t be there tomorrow. Hang up and take a day or two to consider your options.
- Exercise considerable caution when investing your money especially in shares.
- Always seek independent / legal advice before committing to any investment.
- In order sell shares you must be registered with Financial Conduct Authority.