300 victims lose £4m in investment scams during lockdown

A spike in investment scams during lockdown has led to around 300 victims losing £4m of their savings in recent months, the Investment Association (IA) has said.

The IA warned that fraudsters are targeting retail investors in new, sophisticated and large-scale scams, convincing some savers to purchase bogus investment products and disclose their personal details.

Investment managers have reported serious organised criminals are impersonating their products, in particular investment bonds, promoting them through fake price comparison websites, and cloning their brands to produce fake documentation.

The association added that fraudsters are using sophisticated targeting of victims through sponsored Google and Facebook links and harvesting personal details from fake call centres. In some cases, scammers have set up a range of email addresses and used the names of genuine members of staff in investment management firms.

Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, said: “During this time of great uncertainty, serious organised criminals have ratcheted up their operations and are increasingly ruthless in their mission to steal from investors. Our industry is determined to counter this threat, and will continue to work closely with the police and regulators to bring an end to these scams.

“Fraud and scams come in many different disguises. That’s why today we urge savers and investors to be as vigilant as possible to protect their investments and think very carefully about the risks criminals pose to their financial wellbeing.”

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