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Simple tips to protect yourself from investment scams

Date: 03 October 2023

3 minute read

Financial scams continue to be prolific in the UK. The good news is that by being aware of the tricks they use and taking some simple precautions, you can spot a scam and protect yourself from falling for it.  Our experts from our Financial Crime team share their insights with you.

Investment frauds can often be very difficult to spot, particularly because they are designed to look like genuine investment opportunities. Scammers often try to impersonate legitimate businesses, or employees, to trick people into investing.

Impersonating businesses

Scammers use the credentials of legitimate businesses in order to:

  • create professional-looking websites that they have faked or cloned from legitimate businesses
  • use convincing adverts that appear across Google, or other social media platforms
  • produce investment brochures with stolen company logos and information to help reassure their victims.

These scams have nothing to do with the legitimate companies that are being impersonated.

Impersonating people

Fraudsters gather information about individual employees from LinkedIn and other public sources.

They use this information to impersonate genuine employees, pretending to be a trusted employee that works for a legitimate business.

If potential ‘investors’ then try to check their credentials, they find legitimate profiles and company information to support who the person they are in contact with claims to be.

The fraud appears to be legitimate and creates trust and reassurance.

People tend to be more vulnerable to scams during times of financial hardship – such as the current cost-of-living crisis – as a lucrative investment has heightened appeal and can cloud people’s judgement.

A recent fraud that’s targeting consumers.

Fraudsters are offering consumers a ‘Fixed Rate Bond with a guaranteed return,’ and promising them a too-good-to-be-true interest rate, which is considerably higher than the market average. Fraudsters are supporting this scam via the use of a falsified brochure, containing stolen company logos and information.

Here are five key tips to protect yourself from investment scams:

  1. Be aware that scammers will go to great lengths to make their advertisements, brochures, websites and investments look genuine. Always double check.
  2. Scammers may spend months building up relationships with their potential targets. They will even call their potential victim on the phone using a spoofed number, or a mobile number. If you are approached by an individual from a financial business, look up the official website (see below), and contact the firm using the switchboard number.  Make sure you speak with the fund manager/adviser at the business to verify that it is them.
  3. You can verify official websites by searching the company on the FCA register where you will find the correct website address, or URL. The best way to verify a Quilter website is to check here to see a complete list of our legitimate sites and domains. Never rely on links or registrations details forwarded to you, always check these yourself.
  4. Stop and think. If you are contacted about an investment opportunity, take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money. Don’t be rushed into making decision. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into investing on the spot. It's ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  5. It’s better to be safe than sorry – before you invest any money, do your own research: no matter how trustworthy a company looks.

If you believe you’ve been targeted by someone impersonating any of Quilter’s brands, please let us know by using our Scam Reporting Form. Our Financial Crime team can then investigate