FCA hails 32% fall in boiler room scams

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The Financial Conduct Authority says the number of boiler room investment scams in the UK fell by 32 per cent last year.

FCA figures show there were 768 complaints about investment scams in 2011 compared to 525 last year and just 97 so far in 2013. Despite the fall the FCA estimates £1m a month is still stolen by con men.

Speaking at an FCA financial crime conference in London this week, FCA manager of intelligence interface Felicity Johnson said the majority of boiler room frauds are based in Thailand and the Philippines with a significant number also in the United States.

She said three-quarters of all boiler room scams are perpetrated against men, with 32 per cent of those men aged 65 or over.

Under the City of London police’s investigation into boiler room scams, Project Mercury, it has made 53 arrests, 33 searches, charged four and held £1m under restraint.

Johnson said: “We are working more on dismantling boiler rooms wherever they are to stop them harming the consumers we protect. The number of victims reporting to us this year shows this strategy is working. We also issue alerts through the FCA consumer pages, website destructions and taking sites down and working with law enforcement.”

Bloomsbury Wealth Management director Jason Butler says: “There is more awareness about these scams now as well as enforcement and it is good to see they are in decline.”