A recent study by the Financial Conduct Authority revealed the increasing risk of retirees being scammed via investment fraud. Low interest rates were cited as a key driver as investors seek higher returns. Over 65s with savings in excess of £10,000 are three and a half times as likely to fall victim to investment fraud.
FCA advice about how to be a ScamSmart investor
1. Reject any unsolicited contact about investment opportunities
There are ways that fraudsters can pretend they aren’t calling you out of the blue. They may, for example, refer to a brochure or an email that they have sent you. That’s why it’s important you know the other tell-tale signs that suggest the investment opportunity is likely to be very risky or a scam.
Investment fraudsters typically target experienced investors. They may do one or more of the following:
- Apply pressure on you to invest in a time-limited offer, offer you a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date, or say that the opportunity is only available for a short period of time.
- Downplay the risks to your money, or use legal jargon to suggest the investment is very safe.
- Promise tempting returns that sound too good to be true, offering much better interest rates than those offered elsewhere.
- Call you repeatedly and stay on the phone a long time.
- Say that they are only making the offer available to you, or even ask you to not tell anyone else about the opportunity.
If you ever receive a call offering you the investment of a lifetime, just put the phone down.
Go by the rule that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
2. Check the FCA Warning List
Do your own checks before investing; check the Financial Conduct Authority Warning List and the Financial Services Register to see if those that are asking for your money are the real deal.
The FCA Warning List is a list of firms and individuals the FCA knows are operating without its authorisation.
3. Get impartial advice
Think about getting impartial financial advice before you hand over any money. Seek advice from someone unconnected to the firm that has approached you, such as your financial adviser.
If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or by using the online reporting tool at www.actionfraud.police.uk