Every year in the UK, an estimated £1.2bn is lost to investment fraud. But only 10% of all crimes are reported, meaning the number of people affected by investment scams is much higher.
Even the most savvy investors fall victim to scammers who appear professional and trustworthy. No matter how much experience and confidence you have with investments and finances, you could still be at risk. In fact, the Financial Conduct Authority has found that over 65's who have some savings are more likely to be victims of fraud.
Protect yourself from scams:
Find out more
Read our free guide Avoiding scams for additional tips on how to avoid all different types of scams.
Avoiding scams (PDF 303 KB)
What to do if you’re the victim of a scam
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to admit that you have fallen victim to a scam. Reporting it may help to ensure that further people don’t go through the same thing and there is always the chance that the tricksters could be caught, although this is never guaranteed.
Contact Action Fraud immediately if you think you’ve been scammed.
If you want to seek advice on whether a scheme or investment offer is legal, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service for advice.
Investment scams are usually difficult to spot because they're designed to look like genuine investments. The scammers may have a seemingly professional website and documents too. However, there are some tell-tale signs that suggest the investment opportunity is likely to be very risky or a scam.
Investment scammers may do one or more of the following:
- Contact you unexpectedly about an investment opportunity via cold calls, emails or follow up calls after sending out a promotional brochure
- Pressure you to invest in a time-limited offer, e.g. offer a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date
- Downplay the risks of an investment, e.g. they could talk about how you will own the actual assets they may sell if the investment doesn’t work as expected or use legal jargon to mislead you
- Promise you tempting returns that sound too good to be true, e.g. offer much better interest rates than those offered elsewhere
- Call you repeatedly and keep you on the phone a long time
- Say they’re only making the offer available to you or even ask you not to tell anyone else about the opportunity.
If you recognise any of these...
You have every reason to be suspicious. Follow the advice from the FCA:
- reject cold calls
- get independent advice
- check the FCA Warning list on the next page