What is it?

You’re convinced to move your money to a fictitious fund or to pay for a fake investment with the promise of a high return.

You may be targeted via cold callers pressuring you to act quickly by claiming the opportunity presented is time limited. Criminals will find out as much information about you as possible and may provide you with details of previous investments and shares you hold.

These scams include convincing you to invest in markets such as gold, property, carbon, cryptocurrencies and wine.

How to spot an investment scam

  1. You’re contacted out of the blue by phone, email or social media about an investment opportunity
  2. You’re pressurised into making a decision with no time to consider the investment
  3. You’re offered a high return on your investment with apparently little or no risk
  4. You’re told the investment opportunity is exclusive to you

Examples of investment scams

Cryptocurrency

Arun saw a ‘celebrity endorsed’ social media post advertising the promise of big returns on Bitcoin. He contacted the company and following a phone call with a “trader’ was convinced to make a payment of £300. After logging into his trading account on the website, he saw his investment increase. Arun continued to invest more money following pressure from another “trader” from the company. He only realised it was a scam when he was unable to access his account to withdraw his money or contact the company.

Bonds and Shares

Maisy received a cold call from a ‘stockbroker’ at an investment firm, offering her shares in a company about to be listed on the major stock exchange. Maisy was told she would receive a huge return and was urged to invest before the company ‘goes public’. She was given the ‘firm registration number’ and addresses of individuals ‘authorised’ by a regulator convincing her it was legitimate. Maisy proceeded to buy the shares. She realised she had been scammed when she was unable to contact the investment firm any longer and couldn’t get her money back.

If you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your debit or credit card.

Always remember

Be cautious of unsolicited approaches presenting you with exclusive investment opportunities.


It could be a scam if you’re being pressurised to act quickly.


Check the Financial Conduct Authority’s register for regulated firms, individuals and bodies. You can check their website is genuine by checking their web address.