Police issue warning over savings scams

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Derbyshire police are warning people to beware of fraudulent scams where they could lose savings.

Detectives said they were trying to stamp out “boiler room fraud” which is also known as bond fraud or share sale.

They said it involves bogus stockbrokers cold calling members of the public to offer non-existent or worthless shares, by promising a high return.

A police spokesman said: “The fraudsters sound professional and highly convincing, promising free research reports, special discounts or secret stock tips if they invest.

“Once a rapport is established, the caller will then continue to call and pressure the victim into handing over further funds.

“Over recent years, Derbyshire officers have investigated many boiler room frauds, with once case involving victims investing their savings into shares for oil, gas, petrol and gold - along with big company names such as Disney and Apple.

“The amounts invested into non-existent shares varied from thousands to over a million pounds.”

Police explained how bogus stockbrokers have also been know to create sophisticated websites to convince the victims that the investment companies they were dealing with were genuine.

The force spokesman added: “They were able to log onto the site to check figures in their own personal trading account, similar to that of online banking used by high street banks.

“The trading accounts would be falsely updated to show an increasing investment portfolio. This often saw the victims investing more into the non-existent shares.

“In other cases, fraudsters have been known to provide endorsed paperwork, such as share certificates, to make the investments seem credible.”

Police have stated that anyone who believes thay been a victim of a boiler room fraud should:

Break off all contact with the fraudster at once and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Also, they can contact 101, the non-emergency number for Derbyshire police;

Alert their bank immediately if they’ve given the fraudsters their bank account details;

Keep any written communications they’ve received from the boiler room fraudsters. This may help you give evidence to the authorities.

Be aware that you are now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds;

And people who’ve already fallen victim to fraudsters are particularly vulnerable to the fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters contact people who’ve already lost money through fraud and claim to be law enforcement officers or lawyers. They advise the victim that they can help them recover their lost money – but request a fee.

The police spokesman said, because many boiler rooms are run from abroad, they are not covered by UK jurisdiction or compensation schemes. Therefore, victims are unlikely to recover any lost investment.

For information around frauds and scams, visit www.derbyshire.police.uk/stampoutfraud.