Fraudsters will often:
Contact you out of the blue.
Apply pressure to invest quickly.
Downplay the risks to your money.
Promise tempting returns that sound too good to be true.
Say that they’re only making the offer available to you or even ask you to not tell anyone else about it.
To help avoid scams you should:
- Reject unexpected offers: scammers usually cold call, but contact can also come by email, post, word of mouth or at a seminar. If you’ve been offered an investment out of the blue, chances are it’s a high risk investment or a scam.
- Check the FCA Warning List: Use the FCA Warning List to check the risks of a potential investment – you can also search to see if the firm is known to be operating without FCA authorisation.
- Get impartial advice: Get impartial advice before investing – don’t use an adviser from the firm that contacted you.
For further information about scams and unsolicited investment advice, please visit www.fca.org.uk.
Provident Financial PLC shareholders are advised to be cautious about any unsolicited financial advice, offers to buy shares at a discount or offers of free company reports.
We are legally obliged to make our register of members available, subject to a proper purpose test, to the public.
As a consequence of this some shareholders might receive unsolicited mail. Shareholders wishing to limit the amount of such mail should write to the Mailing Preference Service, FREEPOST 29 LON20771, London W1E 0ZT. Shareholders can also register online at www.mpsonline.org.uk or request an application form by calling from within the UK: 0845 703 4599 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warning about share fraud
Share fraud includes scams where investors are called out of the blue and offered shares that often turn out to be worthless or nonexistent, or an inflated price for shares they own. These calls come from fraudsters operating in 'boiler rooms' that are mostly based abroad.
While high profits are promised, those who buy or sell shares in this way usually lose their money.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), which replaced the Financial Services Authority on 1 April 2013, have found most share fraud victims are experienced investors who lose an average of £20,000, with around £200m lost in the UK each year.
How to avoid share fraud
If you are offered unsolicited investment advice, discounted shares, a premium price for shares you own, or free company or research reports, you should take these steps before handing over any money:
- Get the name of the person and organisation contacting you.
- Check the FCA Register at www.fca.org.uk/register to ensure they are authorised.
- Use the details on the FCA Register to contact the firm.
- Call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 (freephone) or +44 20 7066 1000 from overseas if there are no contact details on the Register or you are told they are out of date.
- Search the FCA's list to avoid doing business with unauthorised firms and individuals.
- REMEMBER: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
If you use an unauthorised firm or individual to buy or sell shares or other investments and something goes wrong you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Report a scam
If you are approached by fraudsters, please tell the FCA using the share fraud reporting form at www.fca.org.uk, where you can find out more about investment scams, or call the FCA consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768 (freephone).