Every year, £1.2 billion is lost to investment scams in the UK, with share sales, wine investments, land banking and carbon credits often used by fraudsters to target potential investors. A new commodity, storage space, is now also being promoted as an investment opportunity. Common features include members of the public being:
- Cold called by forceful sales personnel offering an opportunity to invest.
- Promised a high return on their investment for a worthless or non-existent investment.
- Offered further investment opportunities which are claimed to reap high returns.
Post-investment, the consumer will often find it difficult to contact the investment company to discuss their investment or reap any financial returns.
Some consumers may receive initial dividend pay-outs but in the long term the investment may result in substantial financial loss.
Anyone can become a victim of investment fraud, but you can reduce your risk if you follow this advice:
- If you get a call out of the blue, be wary; if in doubt don’t be polite, just hang up.
- Never be rushed into an offer and always be on your guard against anyone trying to push you into a deal.
- Take the time to seek independent legal or financial advice before making a decision.
- Always check the credentials of the company you’re dealing with.
The Financial Services Register lists financial services firms and individuals who are authorised to do business in the UK. If you plan to do business with a firm or individual, use the Financial Services Register to find out if they are allowed to offer the service or product you are interested in. Visit the FCA website.