Be a ScamSmart investor

Published: 03/10/2014

Investment fraud is often sophisticated and very difficult to spot.

Fraudsters can be articulate and appear financially knowledgeable. They have credible websites, testimonials and materials that can be hard to distinguish from the real thing.

Get the tools to spot investment scams

  • Reject unsolicited calls
  • Check the FCA Warning List
  • Get impartial advice

People offering high risk investments or scams will often cold call.

The firms that we regulate are very unlikely to contact you in this way about investment opportunities.

If you’re called about an investment opportunity, the safest thing to do is hang up.

There are ways that callers can pretend they aren’t cold calling you. They may refer to a brochure or an email that they have sent you. That’s why it’s important you know the other tell-tale signs that suggest the investment opportunity is likely to be very risky or a scam.

Callers may do one or more of the following:

  • Make contact unexpectedly about an investment opportunity. This can be a cold call, email, or follow up call after you receive a promotional brochure out of the blue.
  • Apply pressure on you to invest in a time-limited offer, for example, offer you a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date, or say that the opportunity is only available for a short period of time.
  • Downplay the risks to your money, for example talking about how you will own actual assets you may sell yourself if the investment doesn’t work as expected, or using legal jargon to suggest the investment is very safe.
  • Promise tempting returns that sound too good to be true, for example, offer much better interest rates than those offered elsewhere.
  • Call you repeatedly and stay on the phone a long time.
  • Say that they are only making the offer available to you, or even ask you to not tell anyone else about the opportunity.

If you recognise any of these, you have every reason to be suspicious. Use our Warning List to check any investment opportunities you’re currently interested or involved in.

If you have already or are thinking about transferring your pension, we strongly recommend that you do not send any more money. Find out more about pension scams on The Pensions Regulator website.

Not all investment opportunities offered out of the blue will be very risky or scams, but you should be very wary, especially if they are unusual investments. An investment offered to you in this way is unlikely to suit your specific needs and could be a very bad idea or a scam. It is generally best to seek out your own investment opportunities, either through research or with the benefit of impartial advice from a financial adviser.

Find out more about investment scams