Shareholder security


Beware of share fraud

This warning is issued by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Fraudsters use persuasive and high-pressure tactics to lure investors into scams. They may offer to sell shares that turn out to be worthless or non-existent, or to buy shares at an inflated price in return for an upfront payment. While high profits are promised, if you buy or sell shares in this way you will probably lose your money.

Read more on how to avoid share fraud:

> FCA Share Fraud leaflet (PDF)


Are you concerned about share fraud?

  • The FCA’s ScamSmart campaign aims to help protect consumers from investment fraud. The campaign features an interactive tool, the FCA Warning List, that helps investors find out more about the risks associated with an investment, and check a list of firms the FCA knows are operating without its authorisation.


Am I at risk?

On average, victims are male, aged 55+, already own investments and consider themselves financially savvy. However, investment scammers will use flattery, emotional manipulation and time pressure to take your hard-earned money, so it is always important to be aware. 


What precautions can I take before making an investment?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is urging people to take their time to check that investment 'opportunities' are legitimate.

No investment decision should be rushed. Be sure to ask questions and get answers you can verify.

Before making an investment, remember to undertake the following actions:

  • Reject unsolicited contact about investments.
  • Before investing, check the FCA Register to see if the firm or individual you are dealing with is authorised and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.
  • Get impartial advice before investing.


How can I tell if I've been scammed?

Fraudsters may do one or more of the following:

  • Pressure you to invest in a time-limited offer
  • Offer a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date
  • Say the opportunity is only available for a short time
  • Suggest you’ll own assets you could sell yourself if the investment doesn’t work as expected
  • Use legal jargon to suggest the investment is safe
  • Offer much better interest rates than those offered elsewhere
  • Call repeatedly and stay on the phone for a long time
  • Encourage you to keep the investment a secret to avoid friends and family dissuading you from investing.


What is the FCA's advice to consumers?

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If you’ve been approached about an unsolicited investment opportunity, check the FCA Warning List before making any decisions. You should also get impartial advice from an independent professional unconnected to the firm that has contacted you.


What should I do if I think I've been scammed?

If you suspect that you have been approached by fraudsters please tell the FCA using the reporting form at You can also call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

If you have lost money to investment fraud, you should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at

Find out more at