Protecting Yourself From Fraud

We want to help you protect yourself from the increasing threat of fraud and investment scams, Investment scams are becoming ever common and this guidance documents common techniques used by criminals when trying to get potential victims to invest in a scam investment.

Investment Scams

In the most common scams, fraudsters approach their victims often impersonating a legitimate investment company or financial adviser, documentation will appear to come from a regulated firm that you can find on the FCA register. Usually, they will offer investments in emerging or unregulated markets. Fraudsters will promise much higher returns than that of established investments however the investment does not exist or has no value.  

The scammers will attempt to form a friendly relationship and build trust before asking you to invest. Once you have invested they may provide documentation showing the investments growth and persuade you to invest more or invest in other investments with the promise of the same or higher returns. 

Here are some things to look out for: 

  • Unsolicited phone calls, text messages or emails. 
  • Pressure to make a quick decision. 
  • Contact details that are only mobile phone numbers or PO Box addresses. 
  • Offer of an unusually high return on your investment for very low risk. 

Individuals who are approached to invest in scam investments is often as a result of their personal data compromised. There are some practical ways keep your information secure to avoid becoming a victim: 

  • Use different passwords for different websites and update them regularly. 
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers and other characters where possible. 
  • Do not publish any personal information on social media that could be used by a criminal to commit fraud. 
  • Monitor your bank statements regularly and notify your bank as soon as possible if you notice anything suspicious. 

What should you do if you receive unsolicited contact about an investment?

Always seek advice from your adviser before you invest in anything and check the warning list the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)  publish to see if they are aware if the firm has been impersonated. Don’t just rely on Companies House data. 

If you have previously been a victim of fraud you are also more likely to be targeted for further frauds and scams, it is important to remain vigilant and always conduct extra checks before agreeing to invest or making any payments.  

If you receive any unexpected or unusual correspondence from your adviser, contact them using the phone number you would usually use (rather than any numbers in the correspondence) to confirm that they have in fact sent the communication, do not respond or provide any personal information until you are certain that the communication is genuine and do not click on any links that may have been sent via email. 

If you are concerned about a communication you have received regarding Openwork products and services, please contact your Financial Adviser directly.

Alternatively, please contact us on 01793 567888 (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday).

What to do if you become a victim of fraud?

If you find that you have become a victim of fraud, we recommend that you report this to law enforcement by making a report to action fraud. 

You should also inform your bank and any other financial institution you hold accounts with.  

If you believe that your personal data has been compromised, we recommend signing up with a credit referencing agency so that you can monitor your credit file for any accounts that have been set up without your knowledge. You may also wish to apply for a protective marker to be placed against your name and address, this can be applied by contacting CIFAS. The protective marker will alert credit reference agencies that you have been a victim of fraud and prompt them to conduct extra checks on any applications they receive to ensure it is you they are dealing with. 

If you have been a victim of Investment fraud be wary of companies claiming they can recover money from lost investments on your behalf for a ‘one-off’ fee. This could be the same fraudsters trying to scam you again.

Further Information

We have provided links to a number of websites below, dedicated to helping keep you and your personal information safe online. 

Please note, we accept no responsibility or liability for the content or availability of any external site. 

FCA Warning List 

Take Five – Advice on how to protect yourself from fraud. 

Action Fraud 

Bank Safe Online 

Get Safe Online 

CIFAS protective registration