The FCA has launched a national campaign to prevent consumers from getting caught up in investment fraud and to identify potential scams.
Using funds recovered from the proceeds of crime, the regulator has set up the Scamsmart website which encourages consumers to reject cold calls about “investment opportunities.
The website also directs people to the FCA’s warning list, which flags firms such as those operating clone sites and those that are unauthorised to operate in the UK. Consumers can also check the kind of investment they have been offered, where the regulator will explain the “potential pitfalls” of the investment recommended.
Money Marketing revealed in August last year that of 100 unauthorised firm warnings the FCA had issued, 31 firms were still operating active websites.
The FCA is also encouraging investors to seek advice before making an investment.
The regulator says the average investor loses around £20,000 and it receives around 5,000 calls a year from investors about suspected investment fraud.
FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley says: “Those operating investment scams use very sophisticated techniques to build trust and can dupe even experienced investors out of their savings.
“We would caution against anyone taking a risk on a firm or individual who isn’t authorised by the FCA.”
In the last year, the FCA processed 6,593 reports of suspected unauthorised activity, issued 295 consumer warnings and removed 61 websites promoting suspected boiler rooms.
The regulator has also secured criminal convictions against four individuals who were involved in unauthorised activity, including running fraudulent investment schemes. It has also taken eight civil injunctions this year.