There has been a significant increase in the use of emails, texts and social media for keeping clients in touch with their finances and investments and this has led to an increase in criminal activity by investment scammers.
Most recently investment scammers are targeting consumers looking for investments online. You should seriously consider seeking financial advice or guidance before investing, and make sure that any firm you deal with is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Never take investment advice from the company that contacted you, as this may be part of the scam.
The FCA ScamSmart campaign brings together a range of resources and information to help you to avoid scams. We urge all clients to access the FCA’s campaign in order to protect themselves and their family. You can also keep updated with the latest ScamSmart news on Facebook (#fcascamsmart).
We’ve summarised ScamSmart’s four main steps to avoiding scams below.
If you are contacted out of the blue, and/or the offer seems too good to be true, it is probably a scam.
Search the FCA’s Warning List of firms who are known to be operating without permission or running scams.
Even if it’s not on the warning list, you can check the firm is authorised on the Financial Services Register.
Take your time to make all the checks you need regardless of any high pressure selling tactics – as the saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry”.
Mattioli Woods offers a comprehensive advisory and investment service, details of which can be found here. Even if you do not currently have an advisory relationship, should you need to discuss your wealth management strategy or investments, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find free public guidance through organisations such as the Pensions Advisory Service, Pension Wise and the Money Advice Service.
- Report to the FCA – you can report an unauthorised firm or scam to the FCA by contacting the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 or using the reporting form.
- Report to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
- If you’ve agreed to transfer your pension and now suspect a scam, contact Mattioli Woods straight away.
- If you have already invested in a scam, fraudsters are likely to target you again or sell your details to other criminals. The follow-up scam may be completely separate or related to the previous fraud, such as an offer to get your money back or to buy back the investment after you pay a fee.
Try the FCA’s scamsmart game to see if you can spot the signs of a scam.
The FCA has devised a quiz to help pension savers test if they could spot a scam.
Test yourself with the pensions scam test.