Many people are enjoying the financial benefits of this new age of technology. However, the increasing connectivity has made it easier for internet predators to compromise the integrity of data shared by regular internet users like you and me.
While it may be easy to dismiss a fraudulent email, the schemers are becoming more and more sophisticated, making it harder for people to decipher their identities until is it too late. Recent research proves that thousands of people send money to these predators every day. Investment fraud is the most successful method, attracting people through low-interest rates and pension freedom.
To help you avoid becoming a victim, here is a look at some of the most common current investment scams.
Share and Bond Scams
Share and Bond Scams occur when you are randomly contacted from a high-pressure call center. The caller might offer you the opportunity to purchase shares or bonds that will assist you in receiving a larger return on your investment. The shares and bonds offered are overpriced and sometimes almost worthless. In some cases, the shares and bonds offered to you may be completely made up.
A good word of advice: If you are asked to pay a fee upfront, you are being scammed. These scams are often organized by clone firms.
Clone firms are fraudulent companies that appear to be authorized financial services when you go to their website. You’ll find a number that does not belong to the actual firm and forwards you to a representative of a completely different operation. Clone firms want your information. They could end up receiving your email, telephone number, and potentially even more.
A good word of advice: The Financial Conduct Authority has recorded a list of clone firms and regularly updates it once new ones arise.
Binary options allow customers to bet on the price of a share or commodity based on a prediction. You can also wager whether the price of an asset will rise or fall. The offer sounds appealing due to the high returns, however, when you try to withdraw your money, you will be denied access.
A good word of advice: The scam can appear as a beneficial investment (too good to be true) or an opportunity for you to sell some already-owned investments and reap the rewards.
General Red Flags
Scammers often provide general red flags that you need to look out for. Watch out for websites that appear to have made up reviews. If you are being pressured into making a quick decision, that is another red flag. If you are being promised a high return for very little risk, the offer is most likely too good to be true.