Investment scams are evolving and are now more common than ever. Criminals use intense, high pressured sales techniques to convince you to invest in worthless or non-existent shares.
Investment scam criminals will usually get in touch after you've shown interest in their fake firm on social media or through a google search, but they can also cold call people out of the blue. The criminal appears professional and may offer investments in commodities including cryptocurrencies, carbon credits, property, land, gold, or wine. The investment offer is supposed to provide the investor an excellent return in a short time frame.
Fraudsters are very clever and convincing. There are warning signs to look for that can help you to spot a possible investment fraud:
The FCA has created ScamSmart, an online tool to help consumers identify if their investment is a scam or not. Answer 4 questions with drop downs for multiple choice and get a clear picture on the potential investment and the potential risks.
ScamSmart aims to help you understand whether the company you're planning to invest with is regulated by the FCA and whether there's a potential it's a cloned/spoofed company. Remember, you must carry out your own due diligence checks on the company (like checking the telephone numbers you've been given match those registered to the company and you contact them directly using the genuine number to confirm the details).
Visit the FCA website to learn more about how to avoid investment scams and protect yourself.
Cold-calling to sell shares or investments is illegal. Dealing with an investment criminal will almost certainly result in you losing your money. Remember: If something sounds too good to be true, it's probably a scam.