North Wales residents urged to ensure they’re making a sound investment

Written by on 30/04/2024

Investments are a favourite trick used by fraudsters to steal money from members of the public, either from funds put aside ‘for a rainy day’ or life savings meant to be used for a dream holiday or retirement.

Between 2020 and the end of 2023, nearly 100,000 people in the UK fell victim to investment scams, totalling £2.6 billion or £13 million every week*. These figures refer only to reported scams, so the true figure is likely to be considerably higher.

That is why this May, North Wales Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for North Wales are working with online safety experts, Get Safe Online, to highlight the threat of investment scams for the residents of North Wales.

Get Safe Online is a leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety in the UK and is a service commissioned by the OPCC and North Wales Police to share helpful information and advice with the people of the area.

Rachel Roberts, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer from North Wales Police, said: “Investments are always risky and there is no such thing as a guaranteed return. We have seen a significant rise in North Wales in victims investing in what they believe to be crypto currencies but have actually paid money directly into a traditional bank account controlled by criminals. Many victims are also repeatedly targeted. Victims are often embarrassed and desperate to recoup losses so they are inclined to continue sending funds. It is only when the victim has run out of money that they realise they will never get their money back.”

Top tips to protect yourself from investment scams:

  • Consider that if an individual or organisation contacts you randomly about an investment opportunity, it is likely to be either a scam or an investment carrying high risk.
  • Be aware that in the UK, almost all financial services firms must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which operates the Financial Services Register and Consumer Helpline.
  • Learn to spot the classic signs of an investment fraud, such as unrealistically high returns (although this is not always the case), undue pressure or limited time offers, overfamiliarity or flattery, absence of a physical address or being requested to provide remote access to your device.
  • If you receive a cold call offering an investment, do not engage in conversation, but instead end the call by either disconnecting straight away, or after saying “No thanks, I’m not interested.”
  • If you receive an online or text communication about an investment, ignore it and if it’s an email, delete it. Do not click on any links or attachments.
  • Ignore unsolicited offers of help in recovering money you have lost to a scam, as this will undoubtedly be another scam.
  • Check that the organisation is genuine, and not a ‘clone firm’. Always use the contact details on the FCA Register, not in the communication. You could also check whether its website is likely to be legitimate or fraudulent atwww.getsafeonline.org/checkawebsite
  • Seek impartial financial advice or guidance before investing.

Tony Neate, CEO at Get Safe Online commented: “There are more types of investment scams than I can list, but they are almost always very convincing, with professional looking communications, correspondence and websites, and even seminars. Some feature quotes from ‘satisfied clients’. Some scams offer high returns at low risk, others offer normal returns. Whatever the case, it is almost certain that you will not get your hard-earned money back, so if something doesn’t feel quite right, it probably isn’t.”

For more free, practical advice on staying safe online visit www.getsafeonline.org


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