FSA contacts more than 75,000 people over investment scams

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is contacting more than 75,000 people after uncovering lists from landbanking and “worthless, sometimes non-existent” share-selling companies.

The regulator is to write to 76,732 people, the largest number of target victims the FSA has contacted in one go.

The letter provides tips on how to spot a scam, avoid becoming a victim and what to do if you have already invested.

Jonathan Phelan, head of unauthorised business at the FSA, says: “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.”

Investors can also contact the FSA with questions about the letter and investment scams on 0845 155 6355. (article continues below)

The first 10,000 letters will arrive today (April 24) and a further 10,000 letters will be sent each week. The first 5,000 emails will be sent on April 30, with a further 5,000 each week.

The regulator is currently taking legal action against a firm with the largest list.

Phelan adds: “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.”

The FSA says investors contacted by firms should be wary if they have been contacted “out of the blue”, recommending they first check the firm or individual’s status on its register, call them on the swichboard number provided on the register to ensure it came from a regulated firm.

Investors are also recommended to check its ’warning list, consider getting independent financial or professional advice, and if in doubt contact the FSA.

More details can be found here.