In recent years, many companies have become aware that their shareholders have received unsolicited phone calls or correspondence concerning investment matters. These are typically from overseas based ‘brokers’ who target UK shareholders, offering to buy their shares at a discount and/or sell them what often turn out to be worthless or high risk shares in US or UK companies. These operations are commonly known as ‘boiler rooms’. These ‘brokers’ can be very persistent and extremely persuasive.
We advise all our shareholders to be very wary of any unsolicited advice, particularly when offers to buy shares at a discount are made.
If you receive an unsolicited approach:
- Make sure you get the correct name of the caller and the name of the firm
- Check that the firm is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) before getting involved by visiting https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register
- Do double check the caller is from the firm that they say they are from – by calling them back on the contact number listed on the FCA Register
- If you have any doubts, call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6778
- If you are approached about a share scam, you should inform the FCA using the share fraud reporting form at www.fca.org.uk/scams where you can also find out about the latest investment scams or alternatively, you can call the FCA Consumer Helpline (see above).
The FCA also maintains a list of unauthorised overseas firms that have targeted people in the UK at https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/unauthorised-firms-individuals. If they are not on the list, do not assume they are legitimate. If you deal with an unauthorised firm to buy or sell shares you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsmen Service or be eligible to receive payment under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
If you have already paid money to share fraudsters you should contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national Fraud reporting centre, at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.