Seeing is believing?

Investor scams are nothing new and I was surprised to learn of one scam last week which conned some investors out of their hard earned money, with what seemed to be a rather obvious fake name Goldman Shaks (instead of Goldman Sachs). The regulator is aware of criminals mis-spelling names that are “close enough” (apparently) to lure unsuspecting victims. Indeed even the FSCS were victims (2011) to criminals using their name, cold-calling people, suggesting they may qualify for compensation and requesting bank account details. Later the same year the Ombudsman’s name was also taken in vain and even this summer, someone had the gumption or stupidity to use the name of the FCA. By the way the FCA have some useful guidance on how to avoid being scammed here.

Sadly fraud is not always obvious. Never hand over your cash to someone claiming to be a financial adviser. All financial advisers are regulated in the UK by the FCA. Cold calls are generally not something that most financial adviser firms do, we certainly don’t. A confidence trick is generally one where you are caught off guard by someone that appears to be helping you, providing good news and then robs you blind..such as standing at the cash-point ATM and someone asking if you dropped a £10 note as you turn his or her accomplice grabs your card and cash from the ATM.

Something doesn’t ring true

In an age of digital technology it is hard also to verify something that appears genuine. You may have come across a video of a man going down a large water slide, (megawoosh) jumping a huge distance and landing in an inflatable “paddling pool”. This is now quite “old” but is doing the rounds again. The mathematics alone would take some impressive calculating for the physics involved. However this is not, despite some very good editing, a genuine video, although it is rather fun and nobody was scammed out of any money. The full story is here.

So, as with most things, exercise caution. We can all fall victim to a scam, when we are off guard. Importantly, when investing or moving home or selling investments, we will apply additional checks to make sure the request really is from you. Of course the oldest tip still remains the most helpful… if its too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

Dominic Thomas