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Boiler room fraud

Share scams are often run from ‘boiler rooms’ where fraudsters cold-call potential investors offering them worthless, overpriced or even non-existent shares. While they promise high returns, those who invest usually end up losing their money.

Share fraud usually comes out of the blue, with scammers cold-calling investors after taking their phone number from publicly available telephone lists. But the high-pressure sales tactics can also come by email, post, word of mouth or at a seminar. These scams are sometimes advertised in newspapers, magazines or online as genuine investment opportunities. You will often be told that you need to make a quick decision or miss out on the deal.

We strongly advise you to only deal with financial services firms that are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If you receive an unsolicited approach inviting you to undertake a transaction, whether by telephone, in the post or via email, first check their details against the FCA Register of authorised firms. Keep in mind that firms authorised by the FCA are unlikely to contact you out of the blue with an offer to buy or sell shares.

Beware of fraudsters claiming to be from an authorised firm, copying its website or giving you false contact details: use the firm’s contact details listed on the FCA's Register if you want to call back.

If you have any concerns whatsoever, do not take any action and do not part with any money without being certain that:

  • you fully understand the transaction
  • you know who you are dealing with and that they are registered with and authorised by the FCA
  • you have consulted a financial adviser if you have any doubts

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Also note that if you buy or sell shares from an unauthorised firm you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

If you are approached by fraudsters please tell the FCA using the Consumer Helpline below, or the Online Reporting Form.

If you are worried that you may already have been a victim of fraud, you should contact the Action Fraud Helpline.

Should you want any more information about ‘boiler room’ and other investment-type frauds, you will find a great deal on the FCA and Action Fraud's websites:

FCA Consumer Helpline
0800 111 6768
FCA Scams and Swindles Website:
www.fca.org.uk/consumers/scams

Action Fraud Helpline
0300 123 2040
Action Fraud Website:
www.actionfraud.police.uk