Online scams are increasing shockingly, beware.
It is being reported in the media that scams jumped horrifically during restrictions and at the beginning of March 2020 saw an increase in fraud by around 400%.
We are again in lockdown and again stuck in front of our computers working and browsing and thinking.
Scam emails have been popping up in unsuspecting users’ email inboxes since the internet rose to the mainstream. But as scammers’ tricks and extortion tactics have improved and intensified, ranging from promises of making millions, we have to become more vigilant.
UK consumers are being increasingly targeted by investment scams carried out via online trading platforms where fraudsters offer trades in foreign exchange, contracts for difference and crypto assets such as bitcoin. These are often promoted via social media.
Fraudsters typically promise high returns and use fake images of luxury items to entice people to invest in their scams. The ads then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest, either through a managed account where the firm makes trades on their behalf, or by trading themselves using the firm’s platform. They may also ask for consumers to message them privately to hear about the investment opportunity and invest that way.
Most consumers report initially receiving some returns from the firm to give the impression that their trading has been a success. They will then be encouraged to invest more money or introduce a friend or family member to invest. However, eventually the returns stop, the customer’s account is suspended and there’s no further contact with the firm.
Many scam firms claim to be based in the UK and even claim to be FCA authorised. Consumers should always check the FCA register to see if a firm is authorised.
The FCA cannot compel social media companies or search engines to remove scam content. However, we encourage consumers to report content to us and to social media companies or search engines directly. This allows them to issue warnings and to request that content is removed.
I believe in this industry and online retail trading is growing and will continue.
I have worked for the larger financial institutions as well as smaller online brokers and unfortunately there is good and bad practice, due to human nature.
Everyone wants to get rich quick, as you are aware, this is rare.
Although it is becoming easier to invest & trade online , we must be vigilant and follow some simple rules.
"if it's too good to be true, it is"
· Visit the site, read about their terms and regulatory compliance.
· Check the forums.
· Look for negative reviews of them online
· Look out for complaints about not being able to withdraw funds.
· Read the fine print before you open an account.
· Try out the broker. Deposit small and withdraw funds at first.
. Do not take unsolicited calls from anyone talking about investing. A regulated brokerage will never call you directly.
. Regulated brokers will never offer a bonus or other monetary incentive to get you to invest or trade more frequently.
. Report fraud as soon as you can to help others.
Go to your country’s financial regulator, check if they are licenced or regulated by them.
Never invest more than you can afford to lose, make sure you understand what you are doing and why. Take your time trading or investing, do not be persuaded by third parties, make your own decisions. If it is too good to be true, it is.
Practice either paper trading or use a demo account.
Please share this with friends who may be tempted to invest online. Most regulated brokers are ethical. There is a risk to trading or investing, this is because it is speculation, but we can avoid losing out to fraudsters.
If you need any support or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We strive to make investing and trading accessible to all, with as little risk as possible and make it enjoyable and hopefully rewarding.