Unsolicited Shareholder Correspondence
Occasionally shareholders may receive unsolicited phone calls or correspondence concerning investment matters which may imply a connection to the company concerned. These are typically from overseas-based ‘brokers’ who target UK shareholders offering to buy their shares or sell them what can turn out to be worthless or high risk shares in US or UK investments. They can be very persistent and extremely persuasive.
Share fraud includes scams where investors are called out of the blue and offered shares that often turn out to be worthless or non-existent, or an inflated price for shares they own. These calls come from fraudsters operating in ‘boiler rooms’ that are mostly based abroad. While high profits are promised, those who buy or sell shares in this way usually lose their money.
If you are offered unsolicited investment advice, discounted shares, a premium price for shares you own, or free company or research reports, you should take these steps before handing over any money:
- Get the name of the person and organisation contacting you.
- Check the Financial Services Register at http://www.fca.org.uk/firms/systems-reporting/register to ensure they are authorised.
- Use the details on the Financial Services Register to contact the firm.
- Call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 if there are no contact details on the Register, or you are told they are out-of-date.
- Search the list of unauthorised firms and individuals to avoid doing business with them at www.fca.org.uk/scams
- REMEMBER: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
If you use an unauthorised firm to buy or sell shares or other investments, you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.
Report a Scam
If you are approached about a share scam you should tell the FCA using the share fraud reporting form at www.fca.org.uk/scams where you can find out about the latest investment scams. You can also call the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768. If you have already paid money to share fraudsters you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.