Spot the warning signs


Scams can be difficult to spot.  Fraudsters can be convincing and knowledgeable, with websites and materials that look identical to the real thing.

But if you’ve been contacted unexpectedly, or are suspicious about a call or text message, make sure you stop and check the warnings signs.

  • Is it unexpected? Scammers often call out of the blue. They may also try and contact you via email, text, post, social media, or even in person. Imperial Chartered will never call you/email you, contact you via social media out of the blue.
    Scammers will try to impersonate legitimate companies.
  • Do you feel pressured to act quickly? Scammers might offer you a bonus or discount if you invest quickly, or they may say the opportunity is only available for a short time. Imperial Chartered will never rush you and regulated financial advice often takes months to finalise because of the number of face-to-face meetings that are required to offer the best financial advice possible.
  • Does the offer sound too good to be true? Fraudsters often promise tempting rewards, such as high returns on an investment.
  • Is the offer exclusively for you? Scammers might claim that you’ve been specially chosen for an investment opportunity, and it should be kept a secret.
  • Are they trying to flatter you? Scammers often try to build a friendship with you to put you at ease.
  • Are you feeling worried or excited? Fraudsters may try to influence your emotions to get you to act. You should never feel rushed to invest and the normal financial advice process will involve several meetings and typically will take weeks or even months to finalise. A financial adviser will also give you time to consider the recommendation, before you proceed.
  • Are they speaking with authority? Scammers might claim that they’re authorised and often appear knowledgeable about financial products.
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, or you’re unsure if a contact is genuine, follow the steps below to protect yourself.
Check if the firm or individual is authorised 
 
All genuine financial services firms in the UK must be authorised or registered by the FCA. To find out if a firm or individual is authorised, you can check our Financial Services Register: https://register.fca.org.uk/s/
 
Make sure you always use the website address above to visit the FS Register. Never click on links in emails or on company websites. It could be part of the scam.
Check that the firm reference number (FRN) and contact details you’ve been given match the details on the FS Register.
 
Remember, some firms pretend to be authorised firms, so always use the contact details on the FS Register.
 
Our own website has pictures of all our regulated financial advisers which corresponds to the advisers registered on the FCA website. You should only deal with these individuals.  
 

How to protect yourself

 
Do: 
  • treat all unexpected calls, emails and text messages with caution. Don’t assume they’re genuine, even if the person knows some basic information about you
  • hang up on calls and ignore messages if you feel pressured to act quickly.  A genuine bank or business won’t mind waiting if you want time to think 
  • check your bank account and credit card statements regularly
  • check overseas regulators if you’re dealing with an overseas firm (you should also check the list of scam warnings from overseas regulators)
Don’t: 
  • give out your bank account or credit card details unless you’re certain who you’re dealing with 
  • share your passwords with anyone (including your social media passwords)
  • give access to your device by downloading software or an app from a source you don’t trust. Scammers may be able to take control of your device and access your bank account
  • Imperial Chartered will never ask you to pay directly into their account or into any  personal accounts.  
 

Common financial scams

 
These common financial scams each have their own warning signs to watch out for.  
 
 

Common investment scams

 
Find out more about these common investment scams:
 
 

Unregulated investment scams

 
Investment scams often involve products that the FCA don’t regulate. These could include: 
 
  • bamboo
  • diamonds
  • gold
  • graphene
  • hotels
  • international forestry
  • land for development
  • land overseas
  • overseas agriculture
  • parking
  • precious metals
  • storage
  • student accommodation
  • sustainable energy
  • UK forestry
  • whisky/whiskey
  • wine
But even if the offer isn’t a scam, you should still be cautious about investing in any products that are not regulated by the FCA. If you do, you won’t be protected if something goes wrong and you could lose all your money.
 
If you’re contacted unexpectedly about an investment opportunity, use the ScamSmart investment checker to avoid scams.

Imperial Chartered is the trading name for Imperial Wealth International Ltd. Imperial Wealth International Ltd is a registered company in England & Wales, registration number 10740028. Imperial Wealth International Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 823943.’

0292 166 0670

*Please Note

“The value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than invested”, “A pension is a long term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down” and “Your eventual income may depend on the size of fund when accessed, interest rates and legislation”.

“The Financial Conduct Authority do not regulate tax planning advice”.

*External Links Disclaimer 

Imperial Chartered cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites.

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