The plague of ‘scams’ continues.

There has been no let up in the determination and sophistication of fraudsters’ efforts to steal and swindle from the innocent and vulnerable members of society.

With the number of scams on the rise and the sophistication of these criminals ever increasing we take a look how best to educate and protect yourself.

  1. Firstly, prevention is better than cure – raising awareness is a good first step. If you receive an unexpected call or email, do not provide sensitive personal information and verify the identity of the caller or sender.
    This means keeping up to speed with the latest crooked schemes, prodding and poking the financial authorities and powers that be to enhance their scrutiny and anti-fraud deterrents. It means, at the consumer end, staying alert to people promising something ‘too good to be true’.
  2. Secondly no matter how smart or astute the victim, it is worth remembering anyone can be a victim.
  3. Thirdly this is a global problem, fraudsters operate without boundaries – this is something that greatly hampers national authorities policing efforts.
  4. Fourthly check the website’s security before making a purchase. Before entering any personal or financial information on a website, ensure that the website is secure by looking for the padlock icon in the address bar and checking that the website’s URL starts with “https://”.

Getting online help with fraud

A good place to start with understanding the various types of scams is the website.

The website lists and explains 14 types of scams and other fraudulent schemes to help raise awareness and empower consumers.

It goes into detail on warning signs and what to do if you fall victim to a scam, or identity theft or having money stolen from your bank account.

There is also excellent information on pensions scams. Since 2015 when it became possible for pensioners to withdraw 25% of the capital from their pensions early – there has been significant growth in fraudulent activity.

According to the FCA and the Pensions Regulator, victims of pensions scams lose an average of £51,000.

There is a list of tell-tale signs that the website says should alert people:-

  1. Unsolicited calls, text, emails or door-to -door salespeople
  2. Inability to call back
  3. Where contact details consist of only PO Box numbers or mobile phone numbers
  4. Where you are put on the spot to make a quick decision

FCA ScamSmart ‘investor’

The Financial Conduct Authority has helpfully provided a Scam Smart Warning list where it is possible to retrieve detailed information and advice on likely scams. There is a list of firms on a Warning List that uses detailed filters to provide tailored advice for users.

The FCA Warning List using a Step by Step series of questions gets users to focus on the type of proposal they have received whilst also providing clear cut advice on the issues involved.

The website will tell you when a proposed investment activity for example carbon credits is not regulated by the FCA.

The website will also tell you which companies are currently ‘blacklisted’ i.e. those engaged in fraudulent activity.

You should treat the offer with extreme caution if there’s:

A beginner’s guide to scams | MoneyHelper

It means, at the consumer end, staying alert to people promising something ‘too good to be true’.

Action Fraud – National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre

‘Action Fraud’ is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where scams get reported.

It has a wealth of information on the types of fraud, prevention and a newsroom.

Using the Action Fraud contact number :0300 123 2040 ; callers can speak to fraud and cybercrime specialists for support and guidance.

Action Fraud does not however investigate fraud cases however it does publicise them. Reports to Action Fraud are considered for assessment or referral to the police.  Callers receive a police crime reference number and their cases are passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

Bonds….new tweaks to an old scam

Fraudsters have now employed a new tactic- that is remarkably simple to set up. Using the veneer of stolen company logos, on what appears to be letterhead, fraudsters are using financial parlance, old bond term sheets, to draw on investors hunger for high interest rates.

In another case of direct marketing, the fraud involves emailing three documents i) a Terms & Conditions sheet known as a “term sheet” ii) a Fact sheet that details the bond security and iii) a client application form that each carry the bank and Financial Authority logos.

The hook is usually a very high annual interest rate the fraudster advertises the bond as carrying. In one case we saw fraudsters advertising a bond from a major US financial institution paying over 15% interest.

Often the fraudsters are advertising a high yield bond from a well-known financial institution or a large UK company.

It is often the case that the bond does in fact exist, but it was issued many years ago and are not offering now a yield, similar to the coupon rate.

Often the financial institution uses ‘clone firm’ details i.e. names that use a leading bank’s name with very small modifications, that are designed to scam and mislead people.

The unsuspecting recipient of this emailed offer is asked to fill out a client application form setting up an account alongside full details for how to apply for these bonds i.e. where to send their cheques or bank transfers.

The fraudsters are using email addresses (some set up a matter of days before) and telephone hotlines that are in some cases already known to police, and Financial Conduct Authority as having been linked to scams.

These targeted financial bond offers are designed to be highly attractive to those looking for safe high income financial products. However any money sent / bonds applied for- this money will vanish and amount to a total loss.

However this fails the major test of ‘too good to be true’. This is a SCAM.

It is possible to report a scam direct to the FCA using the link below. The FCA team will take the details of the scam and provide guidance on the next step.


Fraud is morphing once again, employing new tactics, new jargon, new methods. But your financial adviser is here to help uncover these disgraceful scammers. If you receive something like this, let us know. Do not commit to anything from someone who has approached you without having first obtained your consent to do so. Do not commit to anything ‘too good to be true’. And above all, remain vigilant.

Get Started with CSS

Open an Account

Subscribe to our award winning daily newsletter

Voted "Best Market Newsletter" in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017 by the City of London Wealth Management Awards

Subscribe to our newsletter (Popup)

By signing up to our free email, you are consenting to receive these promotions. The newsletter is sent up to three times per day during the week and up to once per day over the weekend and is directed at UK residents. The newsletter contains company news, market movements, CSS research and promotions and breaking economic news. Occasionally our newsletter will contain advertisements from trusted partners. However, we will never give, sell or rent your email address to any other companies. If you want to stop receiving our free emails you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the link at the bottom of each email. You can read our privacy policy here.

No, thank you I am already subscribed