The Financial Conduct Authority has recently issued warnings against fraudsters posing to work for authorised firms including Raymond James Investment Services Ltd and Equerry Investment Management.
Scammers at these ‘clone’ firms often cold-call investors in the efforts to promote property and shares that are overpriced, worthless, non-tradable and even non-existent. As an attempt to be considered genuine, fraudsters from ‘clone’ firms use both the firm’s name and the firm reference number (FRN) before providing their own phone number, address and website details to victims. The scammers have also be known to copy the website of an authorised firm, to then carry out subtle changes such as the phone number.
How to protect yourself:
It is recommended to only deal with financial services that have been authorised and to verify the identity of a firm by confirming their FRN and contact details.
On top of this, it is always important to call firms back on the switchboard number given on the Register. which can be accessed through the FCA website – www.fca.org.uk.
What can you do if you have been scammed:
Investment scams can be extremely difficult to identify, but if you think you may have been scammed by a clone firm, it is very important to immediately stop sending money and report it, which can be done by the FCA’s Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.