Fraudsters are conning investors out of their savings, by posing as IFAs offering sensible advice. The warning has come from financial advisers at deVere, who say a number of clients have been approached by cold-calling fraudsters, who are trying to push dubious investments.
Mike Coady, managing director of the group explains: "We have become aware of a group of con artists that is calling our clients, usually several times over a short period of time, masquerading as deVere United Kingdom, and trying to sell them wholly dubious financial products."
"As has happened several times over the last three years, the clone fraudsters typically adopt a near identical company name and branding to that of deVere United Kingdom, which is a fully authorised, regulated and licenced entity. Some are now even using fake FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) numbers that are similar to our bona fide one."
What to watch for
He says the fraudsters have adopted a pattern. First they call and don't try to sell anything. They talk to people about their finances, and claim this is a 'taster' session.
In the next call, they claim to be able to offer a cash ISA paying 4% or 5%, and corporate bonds offering 6% or 7%. They also tell people that these products are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
He said one client was given the details of such products that involved the transfer of funds to a bank in Denmark.
The risk is that if you believe the sales patter, you transfer cash to a bank account, and then never see it again.
What can you do?
If you receive a cold call on a financial matter, the best approach is always to reject it. Some IFAs will cold call potential clients, but it's also such a common way for fraudsters and scammers to operate, that it's best to assume the worst.
Don't worry that you'll be missing out by rejecting these calls. Even if there's nothing wrong with the firm making the call, taking a cold call is still the worst possible way to select a financial adviser: you should be going by personal recommendations and individual research that demonstrates the expertise of the company in question. It shouldn't just be left to chance as to who happens to get hold of your phone number.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from deVere - or someone similar - you should err on the side of caution. Coady says: "deVere United Kingdom or deVere Group do not handle client money - do not send anything to an account in these names."
And if you think you have been a victim of a bogus call, you should report your concerns to Action Fraud and the FCA.
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