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UK Investment Scams 2018 – Over £197 Million Reported Losses

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Data from UK Action Fraud reveals over £197 million of reported losses with scams in 2018. Victims were scammed out of over £29,000 on average last year, as fraudsters employed increasingly sophisticated tactics to persuade victims to invest.

According to data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) call center, the most commonly reported scams involved investments in shares and bonds, forex and cryptocurrencies by firms that are not authorized by the FCA. Together they accounted for 85% of all suspected investment scams reported in 2018. The FCA warned people to be particularly cautious during the first quarter of the year, the peak investment season, as many look to invest before the tax year end.

According to FCA, the profile of investment scams is changing as more and more people are being targeted online, moving away from the traditional cold call. Fraudsters are now contacting people through emails, professional looking websites and social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram. Last year 54% of those who did the right thing by checking the FCA Warning List had been contacted by potential fraudsters via online sources, up from 45% in 2017. The FCA Warning List is a tool that helps users to find out more about the risks associated with an investment, and search a list of firms the FCA knows are operating without its authorization.

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