New figures from an investigative unit working in the City of London have revealed that fraudsters are increasing their illegal activities, aimed at extracting money from unsuspecting members of the public, often pensioners.
UK-wide investment fraud reports to Action Fraud increased by 9.5 per cent last year - from 2,910 in the financial year 2014/15 to 3,186 in 2015/16.
This suggests that scammers are are operating ‘boiler rooms’ in new locations in the UK.
In 2014 the City of London Police, City of London Corporation Trading Standards, Metropolitan Police, National Trading Standards ‘Scambusters’ Team, HMRC and the FCA launched Operation Broadway
This London-wide intelligence-led drive has since uncovered and disrupted suspected boiler room investment frauds operating out of over 100 offices in the City and Canary Wharf.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Manley Head of the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, and Operation Broadway lead, said: “Investment fraud continues to be a major threat to individuals in this country and statistics show that those who are over 60 are particularly vulnerable to this type of crime.
“Fraudsters will do everything they can to manipulate potential victims and convince them that they are making genuine investments.
“Unfortunately once a victim is sucked-in by a fraudster they often end-up parting with a significant amount of money and this can have devastating effects on both the individual and their families.
“By raising awareness of investment fraud we hope to enable people to recognise when they are being targeted by the criminals and to stop them before it is too late”.
Jon Averns, City of London Corporation’s Head of Trading Standards added: “Our message is simple: don’t send your money to someone you don’t know, for a product you haven’t seen.”