Warning to shareholders
Worldpay Group Plc, and other companies, are aware that some shareholders have received unsolicited phone calls or correspondence concerning investment matters which imply a connection to the company concerned. These are typically from overseas based ‘brokers' who target UK shareholders. Two common approaches are:
(i) the caller is offering shares for sale, which often turn out to be worthless or high risk in US or UK investments;
(ii) the individual is advised that there is an imminent offer from the company they hold shares in, and the caller is offering to buy their shares at a price significantly above the current market rate. This may involve the payment of an ‘administration fee', or transferring the shares to the caller company.
These operations are commonly known as ‘boiler rooms'. The ‘brokers' (callers) can be very persistent and extremely persuasive. They often have websites to support their activities their advice and the companies they purport to represent. A 2006 survey by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) reported that the average amount lost by an investor is around £20,000.
How to avoid share fraud
Keep in mind that firms authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are unlikely to contact you out of the blue with an offer to buy or sell shares.
Do not get into a conversation, note the name of the person and firm contacting you and then end the call.
Check the Financial Services Register from www.fca.org.uk to see if the person and firm contacting you is authorised by the FCA.
Beware of fraudsters claiming to be from an authorised firm, copying its website or giving you false contact details.
Use the firm’s contact details listed on the Register if you want to call it back.
Call the FCA on 0800 111 6768 if the firm does not have contact details on the Register or you are told they are out of date.
Search the list of unauthorised firms to avoid at www.fca.org.uk/scams.
Report a scam
If you are approached by fraudsters please tell the FCA using the share fraud reporting form at www.fca.org.uk/scams, where you can find out more about investment scams.
You can also call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.
If you have already paid money to share fraudsters you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
Consider that if you buy or sell shares from an unauthorised firm you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Think about getting independent financial and professional advice before you hand over any money.
Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Want to find out more?
More detailed information on this or similar activity can be found at www.cityoflondon.police.uk/citypolice within the Economic Crime section.