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Scam watch: could an investment offer catch you off-guard?

Investment scam

Should you invest in a firm that contacts you out of the blue? As one member discovered, it’s very risky – especially when they ask you for personal details and sensitive documents…

An anonymous Which? member told us:

‘A firm called Taylor & Clark called  my dad about investing in a lithium-mining venture. Taylor & Clark asked that he email copies of his passport and a utility bill to the mining company, which he did. He received a contract, which he signed and returned.

‘Since then he’s heard no more from either firm, nor has he been asked for his bank details or to make a payment. I have called Taylor & Clark but keep getting cut off.’

Our say on investing in unauthorised firms

The Financial Conduct Authority warns: ‘We have been told [Taylor & Clark] is either operating regulated activities without the correct authorisation, or is running a scam. We strongly suggest you avoid dealing with unauthorised firms like this.’

We contacted Taylor & Clark for comment but received no response.

Investing in an unauthorised firm is risky: if something goes wrong, you can neither complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service nor claim a reimbursement from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Your dad should be extremely wary of any future cold calls, emails or letters. We all should. It’s vital never to give banking details, identity documents or personal data without first verifying the identity of the person or organisation requesting it.

It’s a good idea for your dad to contact his bank and ask it to monitor his accounts. This is advisable for anyone concerned about compromised data.

Have you ever been tempted to invest in companies that contact you out of the blue? What kind of checks do you make before taking things further – or do you steer clear of these types of offers?

Comments

Fools and their money are easily parted .Another old saying . I do not have any money to invest so I would ignore all emails about investing money as I do with all emails from unknown sources phone calls ,text messages as well These days that is one way to avoid the many scams

Yes, there’s one born every minute….

This sounds like identity theft and the documents required to set up a bank account.

Why on earth respond to such unsolicited requests with sensitive information?

Patrick Taylor says:
17 February 2018

Yet again we plough the same furrow.

Older people tend to be me trusting and that also includes gullible. There is plenty of research and articles on this and perhaps Which? Conversations should mention the research.

ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/safe-at-home/rb_april15_only_the_tip_of_the_iceberg.pdf

nytimes.com/2017/02/17/your-money/why-older-people-are-vulnerable-to-fraud-and-how-to-protect-them.html

You will note inthe second article the reflection that men over 70 are a preferred target. You may remember that pharmacy2u sold these kind of details of their clients to an Australian scam company and received a trivial fine from ICO. You may feel that Which? , that has never referred to this incident, should be highlighting the villains more openly.

I have know well at leats two people who have been swindled and one were I prevented a share swindle. And this was after I had left what used to be a safe port of call for people which was the clearing Banks. However as we all know now they are part of a system to faciitate the easy transfer on money which has made swindling so much easier.

In this particular case the subscriber’s father will now be featuring on a list of potential gullible men and I would recommend a change of telephone number, and an arrangement that he shows all his post to a family member before even considering a response.

Wilson Kemp says:
17 February 2018

I agree with you 100% about the complicity of the clearing banks in facilitating scams. Only today there is media coverage commenting on how difficult it is for an ordinary, law-abiding citizen to open an account, yet these scammers seem to open accounts, and continue to operate them when the business has been exposed as a scam.

If you want to see bitcoin, binary option, investments scams/frauds just log onto facebook. Facebook themselves allow these criminals to advertise and facebook pushes them onto you news feed as suggested or sponsored posts and never mentions paid for ad. Shame we still can’t upload images, I could bore you with dozens of such scams. I’d love the FCA, ASA, to recieve scam reports via social media but alas they’re prefer to have my personal details so I very rarely report these things now.

Many months ago you rang a convo about BT’s Call Protect service. You may remember I wasn’t very taken with it at the time, well it’s now several months later and I can honestly say, it’s totally useless. Recently I have added call no. 100 to my personal black list, and am now unable to add more. I feel sorry for those who don’t have a call screening device, shouldn’t need to buy one, but the sad truth is, you can rely on phone companies or govt to look after you.