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National campaign launched to stop £1.2bn of investor fraud

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A national campaign has been launched to try to tackle the estimated £1.2bn of fraud suffered by UK investors every year.

Action Fraud, the national fraud and internet crime reporting centre that is leading the campaign, has received reports of £15.5m lost to investment fraud during the last six months, which it said shows the chronic level of under reporting of the crime.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) estimates only 10% of investment crimes are reported, with victims often failing to overcome a sense of shame and stigma before making a report.

Action Fraud is warning investors not to give out personal information and to do thorough checks on who they are investing with.

According to figures collected by Action Fraud, almost half (49%) of the men surveyed aged 36 years and over – the group most likely to invest – admit to having given out personal details before checking the credentials of the person who contacted them.

Only 57% said they think they can tell frauds from genuine offers.

Peter Wilson, director at the National Fraud Authority which runs Action Fraud, said: “Some of the biggest personal fraud losses reported to police are from investors, a group that we think of as savvy and entrepreneurial.

“Before investing large sums of money everyone should take a step back and consider if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

The Action Fraud website contains simple steps people can take to prevent them from becoming victims of fraud.

Detective superintendent David Clark, head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said fraudsters tailor their techniques according to who they are targeting and will exploit financial acumen that investors believe they possess.

“Fraudsters will deliberately skim over vital details and use pressure tactics designed to force investors into making quick decisions.

“Real investments don’t work like that. Never be rushed into an offer and always be wary of anyone trying to push you into a deal, promising exaggerated or out of the ordinary returns. If you don’t check details when investing, you’re taking too big a risk.”

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