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More than £3m to be returned to investment scam victims

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Victims of a series of investment scams are to be compensated with a total of £3.42m following approval by the High Court.

The schemes were run by Samuel and Shantelle Golding through their companies Digital Wealth Limited and Outsourcing Express Limited.

Investors were encouraged to back the schemes, which centred on purchasing wholesale goods from China and then selling them on at “unrealistically high returns” according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the financial regulator, in some cases of up to 100% of the sums invested.

The scam ran between 2015 and 2017, and no significant trading actually took place. Instead the schemes relied on continually bringing in new investors to fund returns for existing investors.

Between them the schemes raised just over £15m, from over 1,000 individual accounts. When the regulator learned of the schemes it took immediate enforcement action, which prevented the disposal of the remaining funds. The FCA has recovered almost £3.5m from various bank accounts containing the proceeds of these schemes, with money to be returned to 606 qualifying investors.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said that the regulator’s actions had prevented further losses for future investors who would have been unable to exit the scheme before it inevitably collapsed.

He continued: “In this case, we managed to save some money for investors: too often it is too late. These firms were not authorised by the FCA and as we always say to consumers, if a scheme looks too good to be true, do not invest.

‘We have worked very hard to identify people eligible to receive compensation from these schemes and are pleased to have been able to recover and return some of their money.’

The tell-tale signs of an investment scam

It’s been a productive time of late for scammers, to the point that 2020 was declared the best ever for scammers. What’s more, there appear to be gender differences when it comes to who is most likely to fall victim to investment scams, with men apparently more at risk of being duped.

So how do you spot the signs of an investment scam? There are a host of things to look out for according to the experts at Action Fraud.

For example, these scams tend to involve victims being contacted out of the blue. So if you suddenly get a call, email or text from someone promising you some killer investment opportunity, then you should immediately be suspicious.

Investment scams tap into our hope of getting something significant back from our investment, by promising incredible returns. But it pays to be a little cynical here. If the return sounds too good to be true, chances are that’s because it is and you’re being called by a scammer.

And then there are the pressure tactics. Once the scammer has you interested, they will try to get you to commit there and then, claiming things like this amazing investment opportunity is only available if you act right now. They know that the longer you have to think and consider whether this is legitimate, the more likely it is that you will work out that it’s a scam. So you should be incredibly wary of any investment call where you are being pushed into acting immediately.

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