The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Action Fraud are warning the public to be wary of investment scams carried out via bogus online trading platforms.
This warning comes as cryptoassests (crypto) and forex investment scams reports more than tripled last year to over 1,800. Fraudsters promise high returns from investments in crypto and forex, with victims losing over 27 million pounds in total in 2018/19.
Fraudsters often use social media to promote their ‘get rich quick’ online trading platforms. Posts often use fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items like expensive watches and cars. These then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest.
Investors will often be led to believe that their first investment has successfully made a profit. The fraudster will then contact the victim to invest more money or introduce friends and family with the false promise of greater profits. However, eventually the returns stop, the customer account is closed and the scammer disappears with no further contact.
Action Fraud reports show that on average, victims were each scammed out of £14,600 from forex and crypto scams in 2018/19.
‘These figures are startling and provide a stark warning that people need to be wary of fake investments on online trading platforms. It’s vital that people carry out the necessary checks to ensure that an investment they’re considering is legitimate.
‘Action Fraud is pleased to be partnering with the FCA to raise awareness of online trading scams, and we hope it will help prevent more people falling victim. Remember, if you think you have been a victim, contact Action Fraud,’ Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said.
‘We’re warning the public to be suspicious of adverts which promise high returns from online trading platforms.
‘Scammers can be very convincing so always do your own research into any firm you are considering investing with, to make sure that they are the real deal. Before investing online find out how to protect yourself from scams by visiting the ScamSmart website, and if in any doubt – don’t invest,’ Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, FCA, is also quoted as saying.