Menzies Campbell Encourages People to be ‘Scam Smart’

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.

Sir Menzies Campbell with the FCA's Head of Consumer Communications Emma Stranack at the launch of 'Scam Smart' in Westminster

Sir Menzies Campbell with the FCA’s Head of Consumer Communications Emma Stranack at the launch of ‘Scam Smart’ in Westminster

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:

“Those operating investment scams use very sophisticated techniques to build trust and can dupe even experienced investors out of their savings. 
“We would caution against anyone taking a risk on a firm or individual who isn’t authorised by the FCA. Our message is simple, don’t accept a cold call.”
The average investor loses around £20,000 and the FCA receives around 5,000 calls a year from investors about suspected investment fraud.
The FCA is encouraging anyone who is considering an investment to check its ‘Scamsmart’ website, www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart, and seek independent financial advice from a regulated professional before going ahead.
Key signs that the investment may be a scam:
  • ​​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.
Investment scams are difficult to spot and are designed to look like genuine investments.
In the last year, the FCA processed 6,593 reports of suspected unauthorised activity, issued 295 consumer warnings and secured the removal of 61 websites promoting suspected boiler rooms.
On 1 April 2013 the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
Find out more information about the FCA.
Public: FCA Consumer Helpline: 0800 1116 768 (freephone)
Website: www.fca.org.uk
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