Investment safety tips released after spike in Derbyshire fraud offences
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A spike in investment scams over the last year has seen victims in Derbyshire lose more than £6million to faceless fraudsters.
It’s a crime that even the most careful investor can fall prey to – whereby someone offers you a fake but often very convincing opportunity to make a profit. Scammers persuade individuals to move money to a fictitious fund on behalf of your business or to pay for a fake investment with the promise of a high return with little to no risk.
Since September 2019, 200 people in Derbyshire fell victim to this scam, and offences have been steadily rising since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Reports show that young people, aged between 20-29, are now also becoming more vulnerable to fraudsters, who are targeting them through advertisements or posts on social media.
Scammers are leading their victims to professional looking websites, where they’re persuaded to invest in the bogus schemes or are led to invest in cryptocurrency scams.
With more and more people looking to invest, we are now launching a campaign to raise awareness of this type of fraud – and how you can best protect yourself.
And to mark the start of International Fraud Week this week, we’re releasing a video featuring an actress telling the story of one Derbyshire investor.
It is a true story – one in which the victim was tricked out of more than £210,000.
Derbyshire Constabulary’s Cyber Protect Officer, Jodie Nevin, said: “With the coronavirus outbreak causing job losses and having a financial impact on incomes and our economy, more people are online looking for ways to make money.
"Sadly, these factors may leave victims more susceptible to fraudulent investment scams. Though these offences are getting harder to spot, there are some tell-tale signs to help protect your hard-earned money.”
In collaboration with Action Fraud, we are also sharing critical tips on how to protect yourself – and your money.
- Be suspicious. If you are contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity, this could be via a cold-call, an e-mail or an approach on social media.
- Don’t be rushed into making an investment. No legitimate organisation will pressure you into making a transaction, or committing to something on the spot. Take time to do your research.
- Seek advice from trusted friends, family members or independent professional advice services before making a significant financial decision. Even genuine investment schemes can be high risk.
- Use a financial advisor accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority. Paying for professional advice may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it will help prevent you from being scammed.
- Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s register to check if a company is regulated. If you deal with a firm or individual that isn’t regulated, you may not be able to get your money back if something goes wrong and its more likely to be a scam.
- Don’t assume it’s real. Just because a company has a glossy website and glowing reviews from ‘high net worth’ investors, does not mean it is genuine. Fraudsters will go to great lengths to convince you they are not a scam.
- Do NOT provide your identity documents. These fake trading platforms will request proof of your identity. They will tell you this is to comply with anti-money laundering regulations, however the criminals will use your details to sign up for accounts with other services in your name without your permission.
- Do NOT allow anyone remote access to your computer. You may be asked to download software such as AnyDesk or TeamViewer.
- Be cautious of bank transfers. There’s very little you can do to get your money back if you’ve made the transfer
- Remember, if something sounds too good to be true - it probably is.
If you think you’ve been a victim of an investment fraud, report it to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
For more information about investment fraud, visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart.