The City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate is recognised as the national policing lead for fraud and is dedicated to preventing and investigating fraud at all levels.
According to their figures, some £51 million worth of investments was lost to fraudsters in the second quarter (April to June) of 2018. A large proportion (but by no means all) of this was linked to pension ‘scams’, mostly around the new ‘pension freedoms’.
To put this figure into perspective, this represents a 70% increase compared with the amount lost in the same period of 2017 (£30 million), while the figure for 2016 was ‘just’ £24 million.
The majority of investment frauds appear to originate with ‘cold calls’ and for this reason there has been a long-standing campaign for a ban on cold calling – specifically around pension freedoms.
This ban was due to be introduced in June but has been held over until the Autumn, to the dismay of many who view this type of activity as having fuelled the British Steel pension mis-selling scandal.
These ‘scams’ are well structured and highly convincing, so it is important to be armed against them.
The Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates most retail investment in the UK, has a comprehensive system that identifies known investment scams as well as providing advice on how to avoid becoming a victim. This ‘scamsmart’ system can be found at: www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart