Investment scams

Fraudsters tempt you with investments that you won’t find elsewhere.

Always research a deal before you invest. Make sure it’s not a scam.

Learn how fraudsters post deals on social media, and pretend to be genuine companies or advisers.

  • Long-term investment scam

    Fraudsters know that you’re more likely to invest with someone who has experience and knowledge. That’s why they pretend to be genuine companies or advisers.

    To win your trust, they’ll treat you like a client, taking time to explain an investment. If you believe they’re a real company or adviser, you’re more likely to give them your money.

    Fraudsters pretend to be genuine companies or advisers

    It’s easy for a fraudster to pretend to be from a genuine company, or to use the name of a real adviser. They can come across as professional, and may even have paperwork and technology, such as an investment app. Make sure it’s not a scam by checking the register of genuine companies and advisers on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website.

    Fraudsters copy genuine websites

    Always use the FCA website to check phone numbers and site addresses. Contact a company or adviser to make sure they’re real. Fraudsters can send you a link on social media or email that goes to a fake site. This helps them to convince you they’re somebody genuine.

    How do they want you to pay?

    Fraudsters can open accounts on genuine apps and sites and ask you to send money that way. But they normally want a bank transfer. This sends money directly to their account and is very hard for you to get back. Fraudsters will encourage you to invest and often use complicated terms to sound like experts. They may stop all contact if you ask too many questions. Take your time to make sure a deal is genuine and worthwhile.

    Have you done any research or got advice?

    Even a genuine investment comes with some risk. Always research a deal before making up your mind. Talk with family and friends. Ask an independent financial adviser. And use the FCA website to check it’s safe and not on their scam warning list.

    Did you expect an offer to invest?

    Fraudsters often use stolen contact details to offer investments over the phone, by text or email. They also advertise deals online, hoping you reply with personal or financial details to get more information. If a fraudster has your details, it can help them to make a scam seem more believable.

    Common investment scams offer things such as precious gems like diamonds, or metals like gold, wine, land abroad, energy and cryptocurrencies, for example Bitcoin.

Make easy money

Only fraudsters will promise to make you a quick return on an investment.

They advertise online and through social media how easy it is to make money with things like cryptocurrency and other fake deals.

This is an image of a person’s social media profile offering to double your money if you invest in cryptocurrency.

Fraudsters create social media profiles

Social media allows anybody to create a profile, post content and send messages. Fraudsters use this freedom to offer investments that guarantee good returns. They often draw you in with fake examples of success. If you send money, they’ll want more. And you’ll get nothing back.

Did somebody recommend an investment?

Fraudsters can hack anyone’s account to make it seem like a friend is recommending an investment. They also copy images of famous people to make a scam deal seem genuine. Never believe an offer that promises to make you money quickly.

Do you have to pay right away?

If you believe an investment gives a quick return, you may be more likely to pay right away. A short deadline does the same thing: it pushes you into a decision before you take time to check. Fraudsters use these methods to put you under pressure to invest in a scam. Do your research. Make sure an investment, a company or adviser is genuine by checking the scam warning list and register on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website.

Have you done any research or got advice?

Even a genuine investment comes with some risk. Always research a deal before making up your mind. Talk with family and friends. Use the scam warning list on the FCA website.

How do they want you to pay?

A bank transfer sends money directly to another person’s account. That’s why fraudsters prefer this payment method, because it’s just like getting cash and very hard for you to get your money back. Fraudsters will encourage you to invest and often use complicated terms. If you ask too many questions they may stop all contact. Take your time to make sure a deal is genuine and worthwhile.

Always do lots of research, especially if you’re a new investor. Websites like the FCA and MoneySavingExpert can help.

If you invest in cryptocurrency, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme can’t protect your money.

Other scams fraudsters use to trick you

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Mortgage scams

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Pension scams

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Buying online scams

Fraudsters sell fake items online or ones that don’t exist.

Buy online safely

Learn about the latest scams

Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to try to steal your details and money. Discover which scams are common right now.

Go to latest scams

Have you been targeted by fraudsters?

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Stay scam safe

Discover how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud

Stay scam safe

Discover how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud