What’s Going On? With a staggering £230 million lost to investment scams in just two years, we need to be more vigilant than ever. In the first half of 2021 alone, fraud of this type accounted for £107 million lost. The crafty scammers behind these tricks continuously adapt their methods, but their schemes usually follow a similar pattern: you’re lured into investing in something that either doesn’t exist or was fraudulent from the start.
Signs of Trouble Investment fraudsters often use online adverts and search engines to attract their victims. You might be searching for an investment bond, a type of stock or pension, and stumble upon their deceiving website. They may offer unusually high returns or impersonate legitimate companies. Be wary of firms you discovered via online ads.
Unexpected contact from a company can be another warning sign. This might be through a cold call, text, social media message, email or brochure. Investment fraudsters often resort to the phone, pitching Forex, Stock Market and Bonds with tempting rates of return.
As the plot thickens, you might face ‘hidden fees’ when trying to withdraw your money. Rather than deducting it from your ‘profit’, they’ll ask for an upfront payment for ‘taxes’ or ‘administrative fees’. In short, if they ask you to send money to unlock your returns, you’re probably dealing with fraud.
Legitimate investment opportunities never come with pressure. A scammer, however, might rush you into a time-sensitive decision. Perhaps an interest rate offer is ending soon, or a stock is about to release market-boosting information. These are classic warning signs, whether they happen over the phone or online. Scammers can be very persuasive, so keep your wits about you.
Finally, if they ask you to keep your investment a secret, this is a clear sign of a scam. They might claim the opportunity is exclusive to you, hoping to limit the number of people who could expose their scheme. If they advise against telling your bank what you’re really doing with your money, it’s a sure sign of a scam.