Investment scam victims lost £27m in 2018/19, according to latest data from Action Fraud.
Frauds involving cryptoassets and foreign exchange platforms tripled compared to the year before. An average victim lost £14,600 to this type of investment fraud.
In the wake of the jump in those types of investment scams, the FCA has launched advertising to raise awareness of online trading scams, which will run on social media and which aims to make consumers more sceptical of ‘get rich quick’ trading scams promoted online.
The ScamSmart campaign is supported by the City of London Police.
In a statement, the FCA has warned against professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts, which do not mean there is a genuine investment opportunity. The watchdog also encouraged potential investors to check the firm on the FCA register, and victims to report fraud or cyber scams.
FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward says: “We’re warning the public to be suspicious of adverts which promise high returns from online trading platforms.
“Scammers can be very convincing so always do your own research into any firm you are considering investing with, to make sure that they are the real deal. Before investing online find out how to protect yourself from scams by visiting the ScamSmart website, and if in any doubt – don’t invest.”
Action Fraud director Pauline Smith says: “These figures are startling and provide a stark warning that people need to be wary of fake investments on online trading platforms. It’s vital that people carry out the necessary checks to ensure that an investment they’re considering is legitimate.
“Action Fraud is pleased to be partnering with the FCA to raise awareness of online trading scams, and we hope it will help prevent more people falling victim. Remember, if you think you have been a victim, contact Action Fraud”