North East Fife MP Sir Menzies Campbell is encouraging people in Fife to be ‘Scam Smart’. Sir Menzies is supporting a new awareness campaign which seeks to protect those most at risk of investment fraud.
The Financial Conduct Authority has launched the campaign to warn people about investment fraud and how to spot a potential scam. These scams generally involve cold calling and high-pressure sales techniques for products that don’t exist such as land-banking schemes, carbon credits and rare earth metals. Retired people looking to make investments are often most at risk.
Commenting, Sir Menzies said:
“The average investor in these fraudulent schemes loses £20,000. That can literally be someone’s life savings.
“I am encouraging everyone to become ‘Scam Smart’ and avoid falling victim to this increasingly common crime. These scams are designed to be very convincing but if a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. Anyone who is considering making an investment should always seek independent financial advice from a regulated professional before making any potentially life-changing decisions.”
Martin Wheatley, Chief Executive of the FCA said:
- You are contacted unexpectedly about an investment opportunity through a cold call, email, or follow up call after receiving a promotional brochure out of the blue
- You are pressured to invest in a time-limited offer, for example, a bonus or discount is promised if you invest before a set date
- The risks to your money are downplayed, for example you are told that you will own assets you can sell yourself if the investment doesn’t work as expected, or legal jargon is used to suggest the investment is very safe
- The returns sound too good to be true, for example, better interest rates than those offered elsewhere
- You are called repeatedly and kept on the phone for a long time
- You are told the offer is only available for a limited time or to a limited group of people.