Cumbria Trading Standards are warning residents to watch out for bogus investment deals, after Cumbrian residents have lost thousands of pounds in wine scams.
Investment fraud comes in all sorts of disguises, it is often sophisticated and very difficult to spot and fraudsters can be articulate and appear financially knowledgeable.
Bogus companies are targeting our growing over-55 population because they are more likely to have money to invest. They may pressure you to make a quick decision or try to make you feel stupid for not taking up their bogus offers.
Common scams seen by Trading Standards are where consumers have invested large amounts of money in wine, pensions, watches and precious metals.
Wine investments scams have seen consumers, conned by fraudsters to invest their savings into a scheme offering a good return. They then discover that the trader has gone out of business and they have lost everything. Often this is followed by a call from another company connected with the fraudsters, who offer to recover some of their money for a fee - unfortunately this is just another scam.
Low interest rates are driving consumers to seek higher returns by investing in unregulated schemes promising a good deal. However many consumers are unaware that unregulated products bought through an unauthorised firm offer no protection from the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme, if things go wrong
Trading Standards is urging retirees to take the following precautions before making investments, in a bid to help combat widespread investment fraud.
Reject unsolicited contact about investments
Check the Financial Conduct Authority Warning List
Get impartial advice
Do your research and don’t make hasty decisions.
If you are contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
Further information on investment scams can be obtained from The Financial Conduct Authority 0800 111 6768 (freephone) or 0300 500 8082 from the UK.
For further advice call he Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk