FCA pledges to crack down on unauthorised investment scams

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The FCA says tackling and preventing investment scams will be one of its key priorities for the coming year.

In its business plan for 2016/17, published yesterday, the regulator says it is particularly concerned about the harm that could be caused to consumers who fall victim to scams related to their pension.

The FCA launched its ScamSmart crime prevention campaign last year, which was aimed at consumers at or near retirement. The campaign encouraged consumers to reject cold calls, check the regulator’s warning list before investing and to get advice.

A new phase of the ScamSmart campaign will be rolled out this year, which will include advertising and more information on the FCA website.

The FCA says because only a limited number of investment scams fall within their remit, it will work closely with other regulators and law enforcement agencies through initiatives like Project Bloom, which targets pension scams.

It says it will judge its success on tackling investment scams on whether there is increased consumer awareness of the techniques used by fraudsters, and greater use of online resources to avoid scams.

The FCA says: “We will focus on action against firms and individuals who perpetrate scams. We have a range of enforcement tools to  tackle those engaging in unauthorised business, including civil court action to stop activity and freeze assets, insolvency proceedings and, for the most serious cases, criminal prosecution.”