Find out how to protect yourself from the most-common types of scams.
There are some general things we should all do to avoid scams:
- Treat all unexpected calls, emails and text messages with caution. Don’t assume they’re genuine, even if the person seems to know some basic information about you.
- Don’t be pressured into acting quickly. A genuine bank or financial services firm won’t mind waiting if you want time to think.
- If you’re buying a financial product such as a loan, insurance, investment or pension, only deal with a FCA-authorised firm – check our Register to see if the firm is registered. Always access the Register from our website, rather than through links in emails or on a firm’s website (it might be part of the scam).
- Always double check the URL and contact details of a firm in case it’s a ‘clone firm’ pretending to be a real firm (eg your bank or a genuine investment firm).
- Check the list of unauthorised firms and individuals we’ve received complaints about. If the firm isn’t on our list, don’t assume it’s legitimate – it may not have been reported to us yet.
Common investment and pension scams
Scams are increasingly sophisticated – but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Scammers will usually call you out of the blue, but contact can also come by email, post, word of mouth or at a seminar or exhibition.
Always be wary if you’re contacted out of the blue, pressured to invest quickly or promised returns that sound too good to be true.
If you’re considering an investment, check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid first.
We strongly advise you to get independent professional advice before making any investment.
Common investment and pension scams include:
- binary options
- carbon credit trading
- early pension release (before you’re 55)
- get-rich-quick, Ponzi and pyramid schemes
- land banking
- overseas property and crop schemes
- pension reviews
- rare earth metals
- restricted US shares
- share, bond and boiler room scams
- unauthorised forex (FX) trading and brokerage firms
- unregulated investment products
Read more about how to protect yourself from investment and pension scams.
Other common financial scams
The most-common financial scams targeting the general public include:
- banking and online account scams
- fake FCA emails, letters and phone calls (phishing)
- foreign money transfer scams
- insurance and warranty schemes
- loan fee fraud
- money transfer scams
If you have been scammed
1. Report it
For products we don’t regulate or if you’ve lost money in a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk.
2. Be wary of future scams
If you have already invested in a scam, fraudsters are likely to target you again or sell your details to other criminals.
The follow-up scam may be completely separate or related to the previous fraud, such as an offer to get your money back or to buy back the investment after you pay a fee.
If you have any concerns at all about a potential scam, contact us immediately.