Fraudsters have been mimicking investment products to scam retail investors out of their cash and their personal details, the Investment Association (IA) has warned.
Investment managers have reported that serious organised criminals are impersonating their products, in particular investment bonds, and promoting them through fake price comparison websites.
The scam artists also go as far as cloning investment management brands to produce fake documentation for the bogus products sold to unwitting retail investors, the IA said. In some cases, scammers have used legitimate names of investment firm’s staff in emails targeting the victims.
These scams are sophisticated and large-scale, often using sponsored Facebook and Google links as bait, the investment trade body said.
Reports of scam activity spiked three months into the Covid-19 lockdown as savers approached companies regarding their expected quarterly interest payment – only to find out they’d been duped.
A number of companies across the industry have been affected, with around 300 incidences of this fraud have been reported to date, with an estimated total loss to savers reported of approximately £4 million, according to the IA.
Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, said: “During this time of great uncertainty, serious organised criminals have ratcheted up their operations and are increasingly ruthless in their mission to steal from investors.”
He added that the industry is working closely with police and regulators to counter this threat and attempt to bring an end to the scams.
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