UK – Investment Frauds on the Rise

ways, according to a recent report published by the London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, a unit in charge of Financial Fraud and Cyber Crimes. The criminals are adapting to new technologies as is clearly reflected in the frauds committed in 2019.

Traditionally UK Fraudsters used to favor pension frauds. The victims were easy targets, and the returns were extremely high. However, over the last five years, we are witnessing a continuous decline in the number of pension fraud cases reported to the police. Whereas in 2013 approximately 1820 cases of pension fraud were reported, only 345 cases of pension fraud were reported in 2018 and the number is projected to be even lower in 2019.

Almost 8,200 cases of investment fraud were reported in the first 6 months – Finleaks

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This does not mean that British conmen have changed their ways or even their choice of victims, but that they have found new creative ways to con their victims out of money. The office regulating pensions in the UK warned in a different report that as many as 5M British pensioners are vulnerable to pension scams, but it seems the ‘good old’ pension scams are just not what the scammers go for anymore these days.  Instead, the fraudsters’ new weapon of choice: investment scams. Almost 8,200 cases of investment fraud were reported in the first 6 months of 2019, almost matching the figures reported in the whole of 2018 (approximately 9,400 cases).

The new scams did not change the scammers’ victims of choice, and the victims of fraud remain the elderly population. Targeting the elderly, forced the scammers to adjust their ‘fields of investment’ to the areas of interest of their target demographic. Accordingly, the most popular investment scams reported in early 2019 were overseas properties and wine scams. “Would-be investors should always be wary of unsolicited calls, online offers and adverts claiming to offer investment opportunities,” said Jenny Ross, money editor at consumer group Which? “Before even thinking about engaging, check if the company is on the FCA’s register, as unfortunately fraudsters and bogus companies are on the rise. “Banks, social media platforms and the government must do more to combat the tactics used by scammers, ensuring preventative measures and actions keep pace with the changing methods used by scammers to finally halt this worsening crime.”

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