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Investment fraud

What is Investment Fraud?

Investments where fraud is commonplace are land, wine, carbon credits, gold and jewels, emerging technologies, pharmaceuticals, as well as stocks and shares. The fraudsters have sales people who call hundreds of potential victims every day, using high pressure sales techniques. The investments sold are either overvalued or do not exist.

As is the case with many investments frauds, the sales often takes place through high-pressured calls, although it can also be through mail shot, brochure distribution or websites.

To avoid becoming a victim customers are advised not to respond to investment opportunities through cold-callers - if it seems too good to be true it often is!

What to look out for

  • Well informed callers

Often the fraudsters will give details that one might think only a genuine investment company will have. They may have details of previous investments made, shares held, and details of personal circumstances. They will do their homework and make it their business to know as much about the victim as they can.

  • Cold Calls

Fraudsters will cold-call, normally by telephone, and try to sell investments that will supposedly lead to huge financial gain. In reality they either do not exist or are worthless.

  • Be suspicious

If you're considering any type of investment, always remember if it seems to good to be true, then it probably is. High returns can only be achieved with high risk. If you're suspicious about a scheme's authenticity, you should investigate the company's status and contact details and seeks advice from an independent source.

What you can do to protect yourself

  • Fraudsters may also approach those who have already fallen victim to investment fraud and claim they can recover money. They will request an upfront fee but will not be able to recover any money.
  • Customers should be alert to the fact that a fraudster may have gone to some effort to make things appear legitimate - such as having a prestigious address, free phone number, impressive website or glossy brochure.
  • The fraudsters will often call a number of times, slowly developing a friendly relationship. If the victim responds in any way, they will persist, build trust, and eventually persuade them to part with money. Having obtained some money, they will probably call again and try to obtain further money, perhaps in a different commodity.
  • Customers should not respond to callers trying to sell investments but simply hand up the telephone.
  • Reject pressure into buying because the offer won't be there tomorrow. Hang up and take a day or two to consider options and take independent advice.
  • Exercise considerable caution when investing money, especially in land, carbon credits, wine, jewels and stocks and shares.
  • Always seeks independent financial and/or legal advice before committing to any investment.
  • Never send money to anyone you do not know.

FSCS – protecting your money. Find out more here.

Gross rate means that we will not deduct tax automatically from your interest. You are responsible for paying any tax due to HM Revenue and Customs.

AER means Annual Equivalent Rate. AER illustrates what your interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded each year and allows you to easily compare different offers.

Tax free is the contractual rate of interest payable where interest is exempt from income tax.

For telephone line opening times, please read the information in our contact section. Calls may be monitored and recorded for security and training purposes. If you're calling from outside the UK, please dial +441902 428 311.

© Birmingham Midshires
This site is intended for UK residents unless otherwise stated.
Birmingham Midshires is a division of Bank of Scotland plc which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628. Registered office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000.
To contact the FCA Consumer helpline, please ring 0800 111 6768. Alternatively call the Money Advice Service on 0300 500 5000 or visit