FCA advises those affected by investment scams to speak up

Maria Nikolova

The call comes after a survey among Britons aged above 55 years showed they are more likely to report accidents with spilled liquids in the supermarket than a suspected investment fraud.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today turned to the public asking people not to stay silent about investment scams.

This plea comes as new research conducted by YouGov shows 22% of over 55s surveyed who suspect they have been contacted about a fraudulent investment in the last three years, did not report about it. The most common reason cited for not reporting was not knowing who to report to (49%).

Although 63% say they would report a suspected investment scam to an organisation, this percentage is significantly lower than that of those who would report spilled liquids in a supermarket (84%) or fly tipping in their local area (81%).

Last year the FCA received more than 8,000 reports of potential scams, with residents of London being the most active in reporting, followed by those from Birmingham, Belfast and Guildford. This supports the findings from the research, which shows that Londoners (42%) are the most likely to report suspected investment scams to the FCA, compared to other regions.

The FCA notes that such reports help its action to protect consumers from firms operating fraudulent schemes. The FCA Warning List, an online tool that helps investors check a list of firms operating without authorisation, currently contains details of nearly 4,000 firms to avoid. The FCA may also take civil court action to halt illegal activity and for the most serious cases, pursues criminal prosecution. Last year, the FCA returned over £3 million to victims of unauthorised activity, including investment fraud.

In light of this new research, the FCA is calling for more consumers to report suspected investment scams, recognising that there are more bogus firms out there that are yet to be identified.

Last week, the City of London Police today reported that it had conducted a day of action on October 17, 2017. The action consisted of visiting 20 offices with the City of London Corporation’s Trading Standards. In co-operation with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Police were able to gather intelligence on different types of investment fraud and, in particular, binary options fraud. A total of 2,065 people have reported being a victim of binary options fraud to Action Fraud since 2012, with the amount lost exceeding £59 million.

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