Investment scams

Boiler room scams

A boiler room is an entity that tries to sell you fake or over-valued investments. Their aim is to take your money and convince you that you have invested in something worthwhile. When you realise your mistake you normally won’t be able to contact them or get your money back, you’ll just be left holding a worthless investment.

  • Boiler rooms usually ‘cold call’ you unexpectedly or send you unsolicited mail

  • They are trained to be very convincing and will claim to be able to help you make above average returns

  • They might even offer to pay money to you outside your pension for making an investment. This isn’t allowed

Remember that pension cold calling is illegal. If you receive an unsolicited call about your pension from someone you don't know, you should hang up immediately. If you’re not sure, ask if you can call them back.

Companies in the UK selling investments have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. You should always check on the FCA website that the company you are dealing with exists and is authorised.

Recovery fraud

If you have already been a victim of a scam, you may find yourself targeted again by fraudsters claiming they can trace lost monies or sell the worthless investment for an upfront fee, but you will receive nothing for your payment.

They may even impersonate the original fraudsters, or the liquidators or representatives of the liquidators of the fraudulent firm. The real liquidators’ details can be found through Companies House.

If you suspect you have been scammed, break off all contact with the suspected firm or individual and be very wary of paying any firm or individual to recover your money. If you have lost money to a scam or suspect a firm of fraudulent behaviour, report it.

Viruses and malware

Some scammers use viruses and malware to attack computers and take them over to get access to information such as security data. They can then access your account and assets. There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • keep your anti-virus software up to date

  • don’t open suspicious looking emails or email attachments

  • be vigilant to any unusual activity on your computer

Find out more about how to protect yourself from scams.