Almost £200 million lost through investment scams during 2018

Tom Selby
6 February 2019

The FCA is tomorrow due to warn investors about the growing threat posed by investment scammers, with data from Action Fraud showing:

  • £197 million of investment scam losses were reported last year
  • Investment scam victims lose £29,000 on average, with fraudsters increasingly using social media to target people
  • Most common scams reported involve shares and bonds, forex and cryptocurrencies
  • Tax year-end represents ‘peak season’ for investment scammers

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, comments:
“These latest investment scam figures are truly shocking. The crooks behind these schemes have a habit of target elderly and vulnerable people, stealing vast sums of money and often leaving their victims facing destitution.
“While the Government has taken an important step in tackling fraud by banning pensions cold-calling, these figures suggest extending the clampdown to include investments could be necessary to further protect savers.
“However, the reality is scammers’ tactics are already evolving, with increasing numbers of people targeted online via social media. A cold-calling ban would have little impact on this part of the market.
“Clearly the internet is vast and policing its content has proven an impossible task for Governments worldwide so far. Ultimately the giant internet and social media companies being used as a conduit for fraud activity need to step up and take greater responsibility for the safety of their users.
“That said, the best way to protect people from scams is to arm them with the tools to protect themselves. The FCA’s ScamSmart campaign has been hugely successful in building awareness to-date.
“It is crucial all parts of the industry build on this success by providing savers with the information and help they need to make sensible investment decisions.”

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