Investment Fraud | NatWest

Investment Fraud

Investment Fraud

Investment fraud
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Investment Fraud is one way criminals try to steal your money. They try to convince you to invest in a scheme, shares or commodities which either don’t exist or aren’t worth the money paid for them. These scams are common and are usually perpetrated through aggressive sales tactics.  They’re well organised and very convincing. Scammers will target anyone who responds to them and make the effort to build trusting relationships with their victims over a long period of time.

Unfortunately, many of these scams are successful.  Action Fraud – the national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime – estimate people lose over £1bn each year in the UK, to Investment Fraud alone.  There are many types of scams fraudsters use to persuade you to part with your money. Click on the below headings to find out more about the most common ones.





Investment Fraud Red Flags

  • ‘Cold-calls’ on the telephone by someone you don’t know who’s trying to sell you investments,  supposedly leading to huge financial gains.– hang up immediately!
  • Out of the blue’ e-mails - don’t respond!
  • People you don’t know who know a lot about you - Scammers will do their homework and make it their business to know as much about you as possible before they contact you.
  • People giving you details you think only a genuine investment company would have e.g. previous investment and share information.
  • People saying they’re from well-known investment companies - be sure to check independently.
  • Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! 

Top Tips

  • Take Five – before you do anything just take five minutes to make sure all makes sense, don’t rush and always take your time.
  • Seek reputable independent/legal advice before you commit to an investment.
  • Before you hand over money ensure the firm you use is on the FCA register and is allowed to give financial advice.
  • Check the FCA list of unauthorised businesses which is updated regularly. They list businesses believed to be involved in fraudulent activities.



For reporting urgent matters:


  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Police
  • Action Fraud Telephone Reporting : 0300 123 2040
  • Action Fraud Online Reporting:

You should contact your local branch or relationship manager immediately to inform them if you think you’ve been subject to fraud or a scam. Always use the phone numbers on the back of your card.

The FCA Warning List is an online tool that helps you to find out more about the risks associated with an investment opportunity and avoid investment scams.

Common Schemes

Binary Options

Binary Options

A binary option is a simple method of investing in the price of an asset going up or down, the payoff is either some fixed monetary amount or nothing at all. Some binary options may trade on regulated exchanges, they are generally unregulated and prone to fraud.

Recovery Fraud

Recovery Fraud

(Advance fee fraud) occurs when fraudsters contact a previous investment fraud victim and offer to recover their lost investment, usually in exchange for an advance fee. The victim is thus defrauded twice as no genuine attempt to recover the original funds is ever made. These scams are run from what the fraudsters call ‘recovery rooms’ and might even be carried out by the same group.

Carbon Credit Fraud

Carbon Credit Fraud

Carbon credit originate from a range of emission reduction activities associated with removal of existing emissions from the atmosphere. These schemes have recently been reported more frequently as victims are approached by firms promoting carbon credit trading schemes.  FCA has warned that no money has been made from investment in carbon credits.

Fine Wines

Fine wines

Rogue wine traders sell people investments in wine which is either not the vintage quality it is claimed to be or simply does not exist in the first place. Trading in wine before it is bottled and released to the market (known as en primeur wine) is particular open to exploitation by fraudsters as it is not usually delivered until two to five years after the vintage.

Gold & Diamonds

Fraudsters will sell you Gold/Diamonds at much inflated prices, they may even charge you large sums for shipping and storage.  Some dealers may ask for proof of Identity, never send these as they may be used in other scams.

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