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Investors warned about cold calls to recover lost funds

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Insolvency Service has warned that scammers are approaching consumers falsely claiming they can recover lost investments.

The criminals often claim to work on behalf of the Official Receiver or the Insolvency Service, with the false promise of recovering lost funds for an up-front fee.

The Insolvency Service warns that these approaches are always fraudulent. They are known as ‘recovery room’ schemes, where someone impersonates a legitimate UK corporate entity and claims that they are representing the Insolvency Service or Official Receiver.

To legitimise their contact, recovery room scammers will send fake letters with the Insolvency Service logo, say they are calling on behalf of the Insolvency Service, impersonate a legitimate employee of the Insolvency Service, and also refer investors to social media accounts of Insolvency Service employees.

Another tactic scammers use is called ‘spoofing’ where the caller ID and telephone number seen by an investor is not the scammer’s details but are legitimate phone numbers used by Insolvency Service or other organisations.

Official Receivers, or any agent legitimately instructed to act on their behalf, will never ask you to pay an up-front fee to get some or all of your investment back.

The Official Receiver can only make a return to you as a creditor in failed schemes if assets are realised in the liquidation of the company you bought your investment from. If there is a distribution to be made, the Official Receiver will write to creditors letting them know and inviting them to submit a proof of debt.

Paying an up-front fee will not make you a priority creditor – you won’t get paid faster or increase the chance of you getting any money back.

Advice if you receive unsolicited approaches

The Insolvency Service is asking investors approached by recovery room scammers to report the fraudulent contact to both the Insolvency Service and Action Fraud.

The Financial Conduct Authority also publishes a list of known fraudulent claims management companies, so you can check online if a warning has been posted about the company that approaches you.

But just because the company that has contacted you is not on this list, it doesn’t mean it is not attempting to scam you.

You can avoid many unsolicited telephone calls by registering your phone number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

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