Coronavirus investment scams
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated, particularly with investment scams. They can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing. However, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
From simple cons to elaborate schemes, attempts to prise away your hard-earned money are nothing new. Yet there are arguably more windows of opportunity for scammers today than ever, especially with the outback of coronavirus (COVID-19) and using this to play on the concerns of investors about their money, market performance and what they should do.
OUT OF THE BLUE
If you’re contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity, chances are it’s a high-risk investment or a scam. Scammers usually cold-call, but contact can also come by email, post, word of mouth or at a seminar or exhibition. Scams are often advertised online too.
If you get cold-called, the safest thing to do is to hang up. If you get unexpected offers by email or text, its best to simply ignore them. You can register with the Telephone Preference Service and Mailing Preference Service to reduce the number of letters and cold calls you receive.
HOW TO SPOT THE OTHER WARNING SIGNS
Callers may pretend they aren’t cold-calling you by referring to a brochure or an email they sent you – that’s why it’s important you know how to spot the other warning signs.
Unexpected contact – traditionally, scammers cold call, but contact can also come from online sources, for example, email or social media, post, word of mouth, or even in person at a seminar or exhibition.
Time pressure – they might offer you a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date or say the opportunity is only available for a short period.
Social proof – they may share fake reviews and claim other clients have invested or want in on the deal.
Unrealistic returns – fraudsters often promise tempting returns that sound too good to be true, such as much better interest rates than elsewhere.
False authority – using convincing literature and websites, claiming to be regulated, speaking with authority on investment products.
Flattery – building a friendship with you to lull you into a false sense of security.
When faced with an investment opportunity, especially one that has come out of the blue or is advertised, always ask yourself: ‘Could this be a scam?’ Always take the time to check who you are dealing with.
Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change. Tax treatment is based on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. Although endeavours have been made to provide accurate and timely information, we cannot guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No individual or company should act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice after a thorough review of their particular situation. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions.
Affinity Integrated Wealth Management is a trading style of Buryfield Grange Limited. ‘Buryfield Grange Limited’ is authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority. Not all services provided by Buryfield Grange are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. ‘Buryfield Grange Limited’ is registered in England and Wales at ‘Inspire House, 20 Tonbridge Road, Maidstone, Kent ME16 8RT Company registration numbers 4568338.
"Many thanks for your part in all this and I will be mentioning, and I trust that this is acceptable to you, to my accountants, Applied Accountancy, that you have given me excellent advice and been most helpful and prompt about it all."
Mr Leigh-Pemberton CBE DL, Kent
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Geraldine, Surrey – Client for 7 Years
"Finances, investments, pensions etc are all complex issues and generally complicated & difficult to understand. We chose Ian Painter of Affinity to manage our savings because he is very professional in his approach and his knowledge covers every aspect of the market to offer the best advice to secure our investments. We are very happy with the service we are receiving from Mr Painter and his team and have no reservations in recommending him to others."
Martyn, Berkshire – Client for 5 Years