Cloning warning from the FCA
28th January 2015
The FCA have issued an alert that there has been an increase in regulated firms being cloned by fraudsters. Cloning is when a fraudster uses a firm's name, registration number and address to suggest they are genuine when cold-calling investors to promote investment opportunities that are non-tradable, worthless, overpriced or even non-existent.
These scammers typically cold-call investors to promote shares, property or other investment opportunities that are non-tradable, worthless, overpriced or even non-existent.
But a new tactic has seen fraudsters using the name, 'firm registration number' (FRN) and address of firms and individuals authorised by us to suggest they are genuine. This is what is called a 'cloned firm'.
How it works
As a firm needs to be authorised by us to sell, promote or advise on the sale of shares and other investments in the UK, some fraudsters claim to represent authorised firms - or even try to change firms' contact details on the Register - to appear genuine.
Fraudsters claiming that a firm's contact details on the Register are out of date, but this is unlikely as the FCA update their Register each evening.
They may even copy a website of an authorised firm, making subtle changes such as to the phone number listed.
How to protect yourself
Deal only with financial services firms that are authorised by the FCA and check their register www.fca.org.uk to ensure they are.