Shareholders should be very wary of any unsolicited advice, offers to buy shares at a discount or offers of free company reports on the Company.
Many companies have become aware that their shareholders have received unsolicited phone calls or correspondence concerning investment matters. These are typically from overseas based ‘brokers’ who target UK shareholders, offering to sell them what often turns out to be worthless or high risk shares in US or UK investments. These ‘brokers’ can be very persistent and extremely persuasive, and a 2006 survey by the Financial Services Authority (now known as the Financial Conduct Authority) reported that the average amount lost by investors was around £20,000. It is not just the novice investor that has been duped in this way, many of the victims had been successfully investing for several years.
Types of scams
The following are examples of possible scams:
- Offers to buy shares you already hold, often at a higher price than their market value.
- Encouragement to sell your blue chip shares in banks and financial institutions to invest in green or high technology shares marketed by the boiler rooms.
- Offers to buy shares in US companies that turn out to be "Regulation S" (or Rule 144) shares i.e. they can only be sold to non-US citizens, and often have other limitations.
- Offers of help from "recovery rooms" who offer assistance to those defrauded by boiler rooms. They approach victims of boiler room fraud and, for an upfront fee, promise to review their case and obtain reimbursement from a European Court fund or other legal avenue.
Avoid becoming a victim of fraud
You should be very wary of any unsolicited advice, offers to buy shares at a discount or offers of free company reports. If you receive any unsolicited investment advice you should:
- Remain vigilant – be very wary of any unsolicited advice, offers to buy shares at a discount or offers of free company reports.
- Make sure you get the correct name of the person and organisation.
- Check that they are properly authorised by the FCA before getting involved by visiting http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do
- Call the company back using the details found on the FCA register to verify their authorisation.
- Report the matter to the FCA either by calling 0800 111 6768 or visiting http://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/protect-yourself/report-an-unauthorised-firm.
- If the calls persist, hang up.
If you have received any unsolicited investment advice or think you may have been contacted in relation to a possible scam, the matter should be reported to the FCA by calling 0800 111 6768 or visiting http://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/protect-yourself/report-an-unauthorised-firm
If you deal with an unauthorised firm, you will not be eligible to receive payment under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Details of any share dealing facilities that the Company endorses will be included in company mailings.