Investing can be a great way to make money. But people may offer you fake investments. You need to be able to spot a scam to keep your money safe.
What to look out for:
- Unexpected callers - People like to call or email unexpectedly. They will try to gain your trust and get you to invest your money.
- Common scams - A lot of investment scams are for precious gems or metals, wine, land abroad, cryptocurrencies or energy.
- They know a lot about you - People can do lots of research before they get in touch. So they might know some details about you and your finances. They can even pretend to be someone you know and target you on social media.
- Fake sites - People can use a fake site as part of a scam. These can look odd, with different colours, logos and spelling mistakes. But some fake sites are very good copies of a real site. So make sure you're happy with a site before you log on or fill in your personal or banking details.
- Odd ways of paying - A fake site may ask you to pay by multiple online payments, in branch or by wire transfer. If it’s a scam, you may not get your money back.
- You’re put under pressure - A scam may want to hurry you into making a quick decision. Don’t trust a deal that you have to do straight away.
- You’re told to keep it secret - If you’re asked to keep quiet about an investment it’s likely to be a scam.
What you can do:
- Think first - Take your time to look at a deal to make sure it’s genuine and right for you.
- Make sure a site is genuine - It’s best to check the site address to make sure the name is genuine. Also look for bad spelling and grammar and if a site looks odd in any way. A genuine site should have contact details and a business number to call. Look at reviews to see if any scams have been listed for the site. And if you’re still not sure, type a site’s web address directly into the address bar at the top of your screen.
- Look for the closed padlock image - This lets you know that the link to a site is secure. You can find it in the address bar. A secure site will also have https:// at the start of its address. But remember, these do not mean a site is genuine.
- Get advice - Friends, family, and Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) can give you advice on how to make the most of your money. Use the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - The FCA site has a register of companies who are allowed to offer products and services. It also gives advice on how to spot a scam and avoid fake companies.