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Are you a boiler room fraud target?

Are you a boiler room fraud target?

Category: Investments

Updated: 19/05/2010
First Published: 19/05/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is contacting more than 38,000 people across the UK to warn them that they could be the target of share fraud, after it recovered a master list used by boiler room fraudsters.

Share fraudsters, commonly know as boiler rooms, usually contact people by telephone and use high pressure sales tactics to con investors into buying non-tradable, overpriced or even non-existent shares.

These fraudsters are unauthorised, normally overseas-based companies with fake UK addresses and phone lines routed abroad.

The recovered list contains the names and addresses of 38,242 people who the FSA believes may be contacted out of the blue and offered worthless shares.

Although the greatest concentrations of targets are based largely in London and the South East, there are also significant numbers present in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

The FSA is in the process of writing to everyone on the list to alert them to their presence on it, and to inform them how to avoid getting scammed.

Anybody who thinks they may have been targeted by a boiler room should call the FSA's customer contact centre on 0845 606 1234.

Jonathan Phelan, the FSA's head of unauthorised business, said: "This is the biggest list we've ever recovered and by acting quickly and contacting every single person on it, we're hoping we can stop people losing money.

"Boiler rooms fraudsters often sound professional, so it's easy to be drawn in by their overblown claims and give them money to invest. The reality is however that the shares are worthless or don't exist and the money is lost forever.

"Cold calling to sell shares is rarely allowed, so anybody who receives a call like this should be extremely sceptical."

The FSA estimates boiler room fraud costs the UK £200 million per year, and said that it receives around 3,500 calls a year from individuals who have been contacted by boiler rooms.

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