Staying off the “suckers” list
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is writing this week to 38,000 people who are most likely to be the target of fraudsters.
By working with other regulators internationally, the FSA has in their possession a “suckers” list of the names, telephone numbers and addresses of investors who are suspectible to being scammed by ‘boiler room’ operations. These lists are bought and sold by boiler rooms and used to attempt to defraud UK investors.
In the mailing exercise, called “Operation Dingo”, the FSA will be warning the investors that their names are being passed around and that they could be contacted by the fraudsters at any time.
Boiler rooms still take millions of pounds a year off unsuspecting UK investors. The average amount lost by each investor is £20,000. Boiler rooms typically target experienced investors, sometimes finding their details on shareholder registers.
Staying off the “suckers” list and keeping your money safe is a simple case of only ever dealing with a firm that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Be very wary of any investment ‘adviser’ or stockbroker who calls you out of the blue; this is not a type of behaviour that is permitted by the FSA, so a cold call is a major signal of criminal behaviour. If you did not initiate the call, hang up.
If you are in any doubt, get a second opinion from an authorised IFA who will know the particular investments you are being sold.
Most importantly, do not make decisions in a hurry. Boiler rooms succeed by placing investors under a lot of pressure to invest on the spot, preventing them from conducting the necessary level of due diligence and research.