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Investment Scams

South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards - 22nd April 2015

Investment scams are not uncommon, but South Gloucestershire Trading Standards would like to remind residents to remain suspicious when presented with an investment opportunity that looks too good to be true.

Concerns about investment scams have featured heavily in the media recently following the changes to pensions introduced this month. Citizens Advice have identified a number of ways scammers target their victims, which includes the following –

By offering to move savings in a new pension – the scam here may include charging high fees but nothing happens, the money is moved without permission, goes missing or is transferred into a fraudulent scheme.

Fake investment opportunities - people are told by scammers they can get more out of their savings by investing in in pricey goods, like wine, oil wells or diamonds or ‘revolutionary’ new products or projects.

Charging a fee for a dodgy service - People are offered services for a fee. In some cases no service is provided at all, whereas in others a service is provided but it is either expensive or not in the consumer’s best interest.

Getting personal information from people – scammers contact people by email or over the phone pretending to be their bank for example in the hope of getting their victims to give over personal data, like their National Insurance number and bank account. Sometimes the con will use information such as the person’s employer or pension provider.

The advice being offered is to treat cold calls offering investment opportunities with suspicion, especially if they offer high returns which seem too good to be true. Never give out personal information to someone that has contacted you out of the blue and don’t be pressured into making any decisions.

Please report any such calls to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or via their website, www.actionfraud.police.uk.

People approaching retirement with a defined contribution pension pot are able to get help from the Government’s Pension Wise service by either visiting the website www.pensionwise.gov.uk or by telephone by calling 030 0330 1001. Alternatively, you can contact any Citizens Advice Bureau and make an appointment with an advisor.