FCA urges public to help highlight scam attempts

October 26th, 2017

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a campaign encouraging people to get in touch if they believe they have been contacted about a potential scam or fraudulent investment.

The regulator said reporting suspected investment scams helped it act to protect consumers from fraudulent schemes and stressed the public could play a part in helping catch bogus firms.

The FCA’s research of more than 1,000 people found, however, that more than one-in-five (22%) of over-55s who believed a fraudster had approached them in the past three years did not tell anyone about it.

According to the financial watchdog’s research, at 49% of respondents, the most common reason for not reporting a potential scam was not knowing who they should report the approach to. Encouragingly, the FCA said, almost two-thirds (63%) say they would report a suspect approach to an organisation.

Of those who said they would tell someone if they thought a fraudster had approached them, almost three-quarters (72%) would speak with their partner, seven out of 10 (69%) would tell a family member and three-fifths (59%) would tell a friend.

“We want to say thank you to everyone who is coming forward to help us crack down on investment scams,” said FCA director of enforcement Mark Steward.

“It is clear to see that by reporting suspicious investment schemes to the FCA, people are having a direct impact in helping to stop fraudsters exploiting others. But there is still more we can all do and we need the public’s help.

“We are encouraging people to speak out on behalf of their family or local community – just like they would report a crime in their local area.”

Three Steps To Avoid Becoming Scam Victim

The regulator said its FCA Warning List now contained details of nearly 4,000 firms that should be avoided while it had received more than 8,000 reports of potential scams in 2016.

The regulator also outlined three steps to avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud, urging consumers to:

1. Reject unsolicited contact about investments.

2. Before investing, check the FCA Register to see if the firm or individual they are dealing with is authorised and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.

3. Seek impartial advice before investing.

Nick Hewer of The Apprentice and Countdown fame added: “As someone who has been approached by scammers myself, I know it is not always easy to distinguish between a real and a fake investment offer. It is vital more people speak out to get these schemes closed for good.

“Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If you are offered an attractive investment out of the blue, be suspicious, check the FCA’s Warning List and seek impartial advice. Better still – if you get a cold call, just put the phone down.”

 

Source: Professional Adviser