Warning to shareholders
Protecting your shares
Please take a few minutes to read this and hopefully it will provide a few tips on what type of things to look out for to spot a fraudster.
In recent years, many companies have become aware that their shareholders have received unsolicited investment offers whether made online (including on social media), over the phone or through correspondence. These are typically from overseas-based, unauthorised ‘brokers’ who target UK shareholders. These ‘brokers’ will typically make contact out of the blue and they may offer unsolicited advice, to sell your shares at a premium, to buy shares for you at a discount or free company reports. They may also offer shares that often turn out to be worthless or non-existent, or an inflated price for shares they own. Although they may not ask for money in the first instance, and assure you that nothing is payable, this is likely to come later.
These operations are commonly known as ‘boiler rooms’. These ‘brokers’ can be very persistent and extremely persuasive. They often have websites to support their activities, their advice and the companies they purport to represent. You may be requested to complete some form of documentation. We strongly suggest that you do NOT do this as it often contains much of the information required for them to commit fraudulent activity in relation to your shareholding.
The Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) has reported that the average amount lost by individual investors in these types of frauds is around £20,000.
REMEMBER: IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!
If you use an unauthorised firm to buy or sell shares or other investments, you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.
More information on the FCA website at https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/how-avoid-investment-scams