Scams cost 197 million pounds to UK investors in 2018
Victims were scammed out of over £29,000 on average last year, as fraudsters employed increasingly sophisticated tactics to persuade victims to invest.
According to data from the FCA call centre, the most commonly reported scams involved investments in shares and bonds, forex and cryptocurrencies by firms that are not authorised by the FCA.
Together they accounted for 85%2 of all suspected investment scams reported in 2018. People are warned to be particularly vigilant during the first quarter of the year, the peak investment season, as many look to invest before the tax year end.
Interestingly, the profile of investment scams is changing as more and more people are being targeted online, moving away from the traditional cold call.
Fraudsters are now contacting people through emails, professional looking websites and social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram.
Last year 54% of those who did the right thing by checking the FCA Warning List had been contacted by potential fraudsters via online sources, up from 45% in 2017. The FCA Warning List is a tool that helps users to find out more about the risks associated with an investment, and search a list of firms the FCA knows are operating without its authorisation. ■