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Action Fraud is informing the public of how to protect themselves from investment fraud, after reports spiked following the national lockdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Between September 2019 and September 2020, Action Fraud received just over 17,000 reports of investment fraud, amounting to £657.4m in reported losses. However, reports spiked in May, June, July, August and September 2020 as the nation adjusted to life after lockdown.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
“The coronavirus outbreak sadly led to many people losing their job or having to manage with a lower income than they were used to. It has also caused a shake up in the economy in general, with interest rates falling, in a similar way to the financial crisis of 2008. All of these factors provide criminals with the opportunity to attract more people with their fraudulent investment schemes.
“Preying on people when they are at their most vulnerable really shows how low these criminals will stoop to make a profit for themselves. That is why we are working hard with our law enforcement colleagues, and partners in the finance industry, to tackle investment fraud and empower the public to spot a scam.”
How to protect yourself from investment fraud
If you think you’ve been a victim of an investment fraud, report it to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. For more information about investment fraud, visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart.