Boiler room scammers step up their attack following pension freedoms

27 May

The boiler room fraudsters who run clone scams are out in force yet again, seemingly doing their utmost to con innocent people out of their savings.

Typically these Wolf of Wall Street-esque scammers cold call investors to promote investments that are worthless, overpriced or perhaps non-existent.
This serious problem appears to be a growing one since the pension freedoms came into effect last month – and not only that, but it seems that the scammers are upping their game with new, increasingly sophisticated tactics.

In total, we’ve received about a 35 per cent  month-on -month increase in calls regarding these boiler room fraudsters from clients in the UK, across Europe, the U.S., South Africa and the Gulf.

Kevin White, the Head of Financial Planning at deVere United Kingdom, part of  deVere Group, told the media yesterday: “For more than two years, we have been warning of the rise of so-called clone companies whose employees contact individuals and claim to be from fully authorised, regulated and licenced financial advisory firms such as deVere.”

I am pretty confident that this considerable rise is in direct response to the government’s landmark pension freedoms.  I issued a warning statement earlier in 2015 saying “as the new freedoms and flexibilities come into effect in April, these scam artists are likely to increase their activities yet further as they will see it as ‘boom time’.”

Sadly, it would appear I was right.  Whereas before the clone firms would use almost identical trading names, websites, logos and business cards as those of the genuine firms, such as deVere United Kingdom, now they appear to be becoming more evolved.  Some companies have been known to use fake Financial Conduct Authority numbers – including our genuine one – and take the names of real financial consultants when talking to targeted individuals.

I reiterate what Kevin White said this week, which is if anyone is concerned that they may have been contacted by a bogus firm, they should keep a copy of all documentation and, of course, they shouldn’t let the fraudsters know about their suspicions.    Then they should report their doubts to the regulators and the police – and if it concerns deVere, us too, naturally.

Click here for my Twitter account.

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