The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning today about the continued presence of clone firms purporting to be licensed companies that have siphoned £78 million from British consumers from January to December 2020. The regulator noted that such scams actually increased by 29% last year in the months following the spread of the Covid-19 virus and associated lockdowns.
The FCA indicated that during 2020, “consumers reported average losses of £45,242 each on average when investing with fraudsters imitating genuine investment firms. The data has been released as part of the FCA’s ScamSmart campaign, alongside advice to help investors avoid fake firms and protect their hard-earned cash.”
The regulator’s latest survey of consumers says that “2 in 5 (38%) investors said they would check the company’s Firm Reference Number (FRN)”, yet as the regulator emphasizes “checking this alone isn’t enough. Scammers will often copy FRN numbers and encourage victims to check the FCA Register to prove their legitimacy.”
All traders are advised to thoroughly check Warning Lists, including those provided by Financial Commission, and not hesitate to contact firms using the phone number on the FCA Register to make contact with an FCA authorized firm so as to be sure they are dealing with the real firms.