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FCA urges over 55’s to check investment opportunities

6th December 2016

According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) 22% of over 55’s and 32% of over 75’s believe they have been targeted by an investment scam in the last 3 years.

The FCA is urging over 55’s to take their time to check that investment ‘opportunities’ are legitimate before they hand over their money. 

This comes as new research by the FCA reveals:

  • 22% of over 55’s and 32% of over 75’s believe they have been targeted by an investment scam in the last 3 years.
  • 55% of those who have invested in financial products did so on their own, rather than making the decision with family
  • 14% of over 55’s spend little or no time researching financial investment products before handing over money, rising to 26% of over 75’s.

According to figures from Action Fraud, on average victims of investment fraud lost £32,000 each last year. Recent pension freedoms and low interest rates offering poor returns on savings are making over 55’s an increasingly attractive target for fraudsters. 

The new research is part of the FCA’s ScamSmart campaign, helping to protect consumers from investment fraud. The campaign features an interactive tool, the FCA Warning List, that helps investors find out more about the risks associated with an investment, and check a list of firms the FCA knows are operating without its authorisation.

To avoid being a victim of investment fraud, the FCA advises consumers to:

  • Reject unsolicited contact about investments.
  • Before investing, check the FCA Register to see if the firm or individual you are dealing with is authorised and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid. 
  • Get impartial advice before investing.

Mark Steward, Director of Enforcement said: “Making a significant financial investment is an important decision - be prudent, do your homework and be especially on guard if contacted out of the blue by someone you don’t know.  Fraudsters are targeting our growing over 55 population because they are more likely to have money to invest. They may pressure you to make a quick decision or try to make you feel stupid for not taking up their bogus offers. 

“No investment decision should be rushed. Be sceptical. Be suspicious. Ask questions and get answers you can verify. And remember, if you receive an unsolicited call about an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true then it probably is. The best thing to do is hang up.”  

To report a fraud and cyber crime and receive a police crime reference number, call us on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

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