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FSA to contact 49,000 to warn against share fraud scheme

The FSA is contacting around 49,000 people to warn them they could become victims of share fraud after it recovered its biggest ever “master list” used by boiler room fraudsters.

The list contains the names, addresses and telephone numbers of 49,387 people, all of whom will be written to by the FSA, and which could include potential targets of the scheme.

The list, which was recovered in collaboration with US intelligence agencies, is thought to still be in use by fraudsters operating in the UK and abroad. The regulator says it is likely to have been circulated between different boiler room networks.

Share fraudsters, commonly known as boiler rooms, usually contact people by telephone to con investors into buying non-tradable, overpriced or even non-existent shares. These fraudsters are unauthorised, normally overseas-based companies with fake UK addresses and phone lines routed abroad.

FSA managing director of enforcement and financial crime Margaret Cole says: “So far this year we have contacted 95,000 people across the UK to warn them about the risks of investing via boiler room fraudsters.

“This latest list is the biggest we have ever recovered and we are contacting every single person on it in the hope we can stop people losing money. Even if only one in ten we contact heed our warning it could mean around £96m is not invested in these scams.

“Boiler room fraudsters often sound like the real deal so it is easy to be drawn in by their professional and high pressure sales tactics.  In reality however, the shares are worthless or do not exist and the money is lost forever.”

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