How to avoid scams - Financial Conduct Authority

How to avoid investment scams

Last Modified: 27/11/2014
Investment scams are designed to look like genuine investments. See the steps you can take to spot and avoid them.

1. Reject cold calls

If you've been cold called about an investment opportunity, chances are it's a high risk investment or a scam.

You should treat the call with extreme caution. The safest thing to do is to hang up.

There are ways that callers can pretend they aren’t cold calling you. They may refer to a brochure or an email that they have sent you. That’s why it’s important you know the other tell-tale signs that suggest the investment opportunity is likely to be high risk or a scam.

Find out more about cold calls.

2. Check the FCA Warning List

If you have been unexpectedly contacted about an investment opportunity you can use the FCA Warning List to check the investment and the firm that’s offered it to you.

Generally speaking, if the firm is unauthorised or the product unregulated then the usual protections will not apply. For example, if you buy an unregulated investment product from a firm that is not authorised by us, then you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service  or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

Check the Warning List.

3. Get impartial advice

If you have been unexpectedly approached about an investment opportunity that you are interested in pursuing, you should first seek impartial advice from a financial adviser unconnected to the firm that has contacted you.

Find out more about financial advice.

4. Check warnings from abroad

You should follow similar steps to those listed above if you are contacted by a firm overseas. You can also take a look at our warnings from foreign regulators about firms conducting unauthorised business.

Consumer Helpline

Telephone: 0800 111 6768

See more ways to contact us

External links

Action Fraud

The national fraud and internet crime reporting centre

Money Advice Service on scams

Useful tips to protect yourself from scams and identity theft

Telephone Preference Service

Mailing Preference Service