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People in Surrey conned out of over £350,000 in investment frauds last month

3 minute read
People in Surrey conned out of over £350,000 in investment frauds last month

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 6:00am 13th June 2020.

Surrey Police is issuing a warning about investment fraud after a number of victims have lost thousands of pounds.

In May the force recorded six cases of investment fraud involving vulnerable victims, with total losses amounting to £365,150. 

This crime typically involves a credible-sounding fraudster pretending to be from an investment company, offering victims opportunities to invest their money and potentially make impressive profits from doing so.

Officers say the investment could be in shares or bonds, or precious goods such as gold, silver, diamonds, wine or art. Investment fraud can often happen over a long period of time. 

Meanwhile, in 2018 a woman in her 50s from Surrey Heath was looking to invest a redundancy payment.

Through an internet search she found an investment company and agreed to invest a lump sum in a bond.

Since then she has continued to receive updates about her investment, with the company telling her most recently that they would soon be paying back the amount invested, alongside the interest earned.

The money never appeared and with further research the woman realised she had been the victim of a scam. She had transferred £275,000.

PC Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Surrey Police said:

"We are seeing victims lose devastating sums of money to fraudsters and are urging people to be wary when contacted by someone claiming to be from an investment firm about their money.

"This contact is frequently via telephone but can also start through social media and while searching for investments online.

"Take your time making decisions and remember that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is."

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned earlier this year that legitimate investment firm BlackRock Advisors UK Ltd was being ‘cloned’ by fraudsters.

This new tactic means fraudsters use the name, firm registration number (FRN) and address of firms and individuals authorised by the FCA to suggest they are genuine.

They can also copy a firm’s own website.

Bernadette Lawrie added:

"If you are thinking of making an investment always check people are who they say they are.

"To make safe investments, take a look at the Financial Conduct Authority’s ScamSmart warning list.”

If you have been a victim of fraud you can report it to Action Fraud by calling 101.