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BE FRAUD AWARE – Follow these 'golden' rules

It is no secret that cases of investment scams have risen in recent years, almost doubling to 8,153 in the first half of 2019 year on year1.

Every day, people are faced with decisions when it comes to their finances and when making investment choices. With this comes new opportunities for fraudsters.

In our industry, we have seen a rise in ‘cloning’ – the process by which fraudsters mimic a legitimate firm’s contact details, documents and personnel, to deceive members of the public into purchasing illegitimate investments.

Investment scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and the perpetrators can be knowledgeable, charismatic and convincing. However, by adhering to these ‘golden’ rules, you can avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

     1. Verify contact details

When approached directly by a firm, you should always use the contact details registered on the FCA’s Register and not the details provided by the firm.

You should also check the firm’s contact details with directory enquiries or Companies House to make sure they are aligned.

     2. Ignore unexpected contact ​​​

Traditionally, investment scams have typically been carried out via telephone ‘cold-calls’, but the growth of digital platforms used for managing money has made us more accessible and contactable. However, this provides you with time to stop and think about what you are reading and who is contacting you.

Legitimate investment firms will not unexpectedly contact individuals offering services – they will meet clients face-to-face before opening any banking or investment account.

     3. Avoid opportunities that are ‘too good to be true’

Fraudsters often offer niche products that purport to offer a high return on an investment to entice victims into making the transfer. If someone is offering an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true, it is.

     4. Be conscious of time pressure

The criminals behind investment scams will pressurise you to act quickly by claiming the opportunity to invest is time limited.

But wealth managers work closely with their clients to make sure that they are making investment decisions that are always akin to their long-term, overarching objectives.

Opportunities that arise should strike you as considered and thoughtfully presented and should accurately reflect your investment strategy.

 

1. According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, August 2019.