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Fraud guide

Investment Scams 

What are Investment Scams?

Investment scams are one of the many ways criminals try and 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 becoming increasingly common and can take a variety of forms, so it's really important you know how to spot them.

Common Investment Scams

Whilst it's really important to be cautious of any approach asking you to invest, the below are some of the more common scams we see. 

Cryptocurrency Investments

These tend to take place via cold calls or adverts on social media - often using the images of celebrities or well-known individuals to promote them. The ads then link to professional-looking websites and customers are persuaded to make investments with the firm using cryptocurrencies or traditional currencies.

Clone Investment Firms

As a firm needs to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to promote or advise on the sale of shares and other investments in the UK, some fraudsters claim to represent authorised firms – or even try to change firms’ contact details on the register to appear genuine.

Recovery Scams

This occurs when fraudsters contact a previous investment fraud victim and offer to recover their lost investment, usually in exchange for an advance fee. Therefore, if you've been a victim of investment fraud you should remain vigilant with future approaches offering investments as they will more than likely be a scam.

Things to look out for

These scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, but by keeping an eye out for the below you can protect yourself and your money. 

Unexpected contact

From someone you don’t know, who seems to know a lot about you. This doesn't mean they're who they say they are.  If you're not sure - hang up!

Time pressure

You may be promised a discount if you invest by a certain date, don't let this pressure you. Always think it through carefully and seek independent advice. 

Pop up adverts

Offering investments with well-known banks and asking you to fill out a form. Always contact the bank directly.

Steps to protect yourself

If you're planning on investing, it's really important you follow our advice below to help protect yourself from scams. 

Tips that can help

  1. 1

    Seek reputable, independent financial advice before you commit to an investment. Never take advice from the company that contacted you directly. 

  2. 2

    Before you hand over money ensure the firm you use is on the FCA register and is allowed to give financial advice (opens in new window) . You should also verify any contact details via the register too. If they're not on here, or the details don't match, it's likely a scam. 

  3. 3

    Check the FCA list of unauthorised businesses which is updated regularly. They list businesses believed to be involved in fraudulent activities. You can also carry out further scam checks on this website. 

  4. 4

    Be cautious of all unexpected calls, emails, and text messages. Don’t assume they’re genuine, even if the person seems to know a lot about you or your previous investments. 

Think you've been caught out?

If you think you've handed money or personal details over to a scammer, we're here to help. It's important you contact us straight away.

More like this

Social engineering

Social engineering is the way fraudsters manipulate people so that they hand over personal information.

Fake emails

Fraudsters send emails pretending to be from a trusted organisation but they’re asking you to give away personal information.

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