£197m lost in investment scams last year in the UK: FCA

Pedro Gonçalves
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£197m lost in investment scams last year in the UK: FCA

 Action Fraud figures show that  over £197m was lost in investment scams in 2018 as consumers are increasingly moving online.

The figures show that each victim was scammed out of over £29,000 on average last year, with FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) call centre data showing that the most commonly reported scams involved investments in shares and bonds, forex and cryptocurrencies.

Together they accounted for 85% of all suspected investment scams reported in 2018.

Remember, if in any doubt - don't invest"

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at FCA, said: "The first quarter of the year is a common time for people to make their financial plans for the year, including investments.

"But before you invest, do your homework. Always check the FCA's register to make sure you're dealing with an authorised firm and use the contact details on our register, not the details the firm gives you, to avoid ‘clones'.

"Also check the FCA warning list of firms to avoid. Remember, if in any doubt - don't invest."

The FCA stated fraudsters were now contacting people through emails, professional looking websites and social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram.

Last year 54% of those who checked the FCA Warning List had been contacted by potential fraudsters via online sources, up from 45% in 2017.

"These statistics show that investment fraud is a major threat, with fraudsters doing everything they can to manipulate potential victims into making investments. Victims are often coerced or persuaded into parting with significant amounts of money and this can have a devastating impact on their wellbeing and finances," Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, added in a joint statement to warn investors to be cautions when it comes to trusting their money to someone.