Is your name listed in the fraudster’s phone book?

Is your name listed in the fraudster’s phone book?

16:41 PM, 24th April 2012, About 12 years ago

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Property investors targeted by fraudsters are about to receive a letter or email from financial watchdogs warning them crooks are trying to con them out of cash.

More than 75,000 names are on a secret scam list recovered by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in an operation against firms selling worthless investments.

The list includes 19,100 email addresses and around 57,650 home addresses of potential fraud victims.

The firms using the list were running two scams:

  • Land banking – selling worthless land for thousands by falsely claiming the price would rise because the plots were prime development areas awaiting planning permission. In reality, the claims are lies and the land is either unsuitable for building or will not be granted planning
  • Boiler room scams – selling worthless shares at inflated prices often claiming inside information will push up the value

The FSA and Office of Fair Trading have closed several fraudulent investment schemes that have scammed millions of pounds from unwitting victims.

Jonathan Phelan, the FSA’s head of unauthorised business, said: “If you get a letter or email from the FSA over the next five or six weeks, please read it – it could you save you tens of thousands of pounds. If you have already been contacted by a firm offering you a ‘once in lifetime’ investment opportunity or have already invested, then tell us. The information you have could help us catch criminals and shut down their scams.”

The FSA has a team ready to answer questions about the letter and investment scams on 0845 155 6355.

The largest list was recovered from a firm which the FSA cannot name due to ongoing legal action.

Jonathan Phelan added: “These lists are nothing more than fraudsters’ phone books and the people that use them are ruthless, calculated and will stop at nothing to steal your money. A call out of the blue is one of the hallmarks of investment scams, so if you ever get an unexpected call with promises of fantastic returns – you should be extremely sceptical.”

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