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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

North Yorkshire Police Support Campaign to Beat Fraud.

North Yorkshire Police Support Campaign to Beat Fraud.

6:01am 24th November 2012

North Yorkshire Police are supporting a national campaign that warns UK investors they risk falling victim to thousands of pounds worth of fraud if they fail to take simple steps to check who they're investing with.

The campaign, led by Action Fraud, the national fraud and internet crime reporting centre estimates that £1.2 billion is lost nationally to investment fraud every year.

Figures collected as part of the nationwide campaign show that almost half (49%) of the men surveyed aged 36+ (a group most likely to have made investments), admit to having given out personal details before checking the credentials of the person who contacted them and only 57% are confident they can tell the difference between fraudulent and genuine offers.

As part of a national call to action, entitled The Devil's in Their Details, government and the private sector have come together to advise investors of the steps they can take to identify and avoid these scams. Action Fraud has teamed up with industry bodies including Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), representing the banks and wider financial services sector, and regulators including the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to raise awareness amongst those at greatest risk of falling victim to fraud.

The campaign also features an online video created to provide a vivid illustration highlighting the risk a person faces if they don't check before they invest.

Demonstrating the extent of under-reporting, Action Fraud has received reports of £15.5million of money lost to investment fraud during the last six months. However, according to the FSA, only an estimated 10% of these investment crimes are reported, with victims often failing to overcome a sense of shame and stigma before making a report, and the actual number and amounts lost are much higher.

Peter Wilson, Director at the National Fraud Authority who runs Action Fraud comments: "Some of the biggest personal fraud losses reported to police are from investors, a group that we think of as savvy and entrepreneurial. Our intelligence shows that amounts ranging between £10K to over £1m are being handed over to fraudsters by victims. This loss is likely to be permanent and will not only deal a life-changing blow to the victims, but possibly their family and their business. Before investing large sums of money everyone should take a step back and consider if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The Action Fraud website contains simple steps people can take to prevent them from losing hard earned money."

A victim of fraud, who lost over £1.5million to an investment scam and wishes to remain anonymous, said:"When a high-flying son of a family friend approached us about investing in a group of companies he was involved in we had no reason not to trust him. We invested a small amount of money first and were regularly updated on how our money was growing - and were even able to take some money back out of the company; all increasing the authenticity and resulting in us continuing to invest".

"When we tried to take all of our money out, we were fobbed off with excuses. I grew increasingly ill with the stress and the fear of losing the family home. My doctor advised me to take some time to get better before confronting my money situation. A year later, one of the companies in this group no longer existed - the directors had apparently all moved on - that's when I reported it to Action Fraud".

"In total I lost over £1.5 million to this scam and I'm still trying to recover this - I would urge other people to report as soon as they have a suspicion that their investment isn't for real - the sooner they do the sooner the police can work towards making sure it doesn't happen to anyone else."

Despite notionally being the most confident and assertive of demographics, background research for the campaign shows that men aged between 36-55 are one of the most likely age group to lose money to fraud, due almost entirely to this form of scam. The findings have highlighted this group is more likely to take risks through taking part in online deals, promotions and foreign money-making opportunities. They demonstrate that the ability to invest large amounts, as well as a tendency to act on impulse serve to increase the likelihood of these people becoming victims of these scams.

Detective Superintendent David Clark, Head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said: "Fraudsters are clever: they tailor their techniques according to who they are targeting and will exploit financial acumen that investors believe they possess. Fraudsters will deliberately skim over vital details and use pressure tactics designed to force investors into making quick decisions. Real investments don't work like that. Never be rushed into an offer and always be wary of anyone trying to push you into a deal, promising exaggerated or out of the ordinary returns. If you don't check details when investing, you're taking too big a risk."

For advice or to report a fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to speak to a trained advisor or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk

Investment fraud - Some things just aren't worth the risk

As part of a national call to action, entitled The Devil's in Their Details, government and the private sector have come together to advise investors of the steps they can take to identify and avoid investment scams. Action Fraud has teamed up with industry bodies including Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), representing the banks and wider financial services sector, and regulators including the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to raise awareness amongst those at greatest risk of falling victim to fraud.

Every year, £1.2 billion is lost to investment scams in the UK, with share sales, wine investments, land banking and carbon credits commonly used by fraudsters to target potential investors. With an average permanent, personal loss of £20,000, this a crime that can deal a life-changing blow to the victims, as well as their family and their business.

Background campaign research shows that men aged between 36-55 are one of the most likely groups to lose money to fraud, almost entirely due to this form of scam. While this group display more confidence and assertiveness than other groups, they are also more likely to act on impulse and take excessive investment risks.

Anyone can become a victim of investment fraud, but you can reduce your risk if you follow this advice:

  • Never be rushed into an offer and always be on your guard against anyone trying to push you into a deal
  • If you get a call out of the blue, be wary; if in doubt don't be polite, just hang up
  • If you are being promised exaggerated or out of the ordinary returns, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Take the time to seek independent legal or financial advice before making a decision
  • Always check the credentials of the company you're dealing with. Check for known fraudulent organisations at: www.fsa.gov.uk/warnings
  • Additional advice from Action Fraud can be found here.

The campaign message is clear - if you don't take simple steps to check the details of who you're investing with, you're taking too big a risk. The Devil's in Their Details.

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