Retail investors in the UK lost more than 197 million GBP to scammers in 2018 alone, the local Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reports. The numbers, based on 6759 complaints and data form Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting service, mean that on average a scam victim has lost 29 000 GBP.
The most common scams were connected to offshore, unregulated companies offering forex trade, as well as cryoto currencies, stocks and bonds. Scams with those asset classes amount to 85% of all fraudulent activities in 2018.
Scammers, however are using new tools for their clandestine activities. Although until recently the most common techniques was to cold call a victim, now more an more often con artists use the social media, emails and the so called “robo scam” websites like Crypto Revolt and Bitcoin Evolution.
FCA published “six signs” that can warn you, you are about to get scammed:
Unexpected contact – both a cold call on the phone and online;
Time pressure – offering you a bonus or discount if you invest before a certain date, or you might be told that the opportunity is only available for a short period of time;
Social proof – scammers may share fake reviews and claim other clients want the deal;
Unrealistic returns – quite often you will be promised swift and generous returns, which sound too good to be true – for example much better interest rates than anywhere else;
False authority – fraudsters often claim to be regulated and will speak with authority on investment products
Flattery – they may play as if they are your friends and lure you into a false sense of security.
The FCA warns the public that the beginning of the year is usually a particularly dangerous period, as it is peak investment season and investors should be particularly cautious.