Investment scams

There’s no easy way to invest and make money. It takes time and effort to find a genuine deal that’s right for you.

If an investment seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. 

Find out what tricks fraudsters use to steal money through fake investments.

  • Long-term investment scam

    If a fraudster wins your trust, they can set you up with a scam that takes your money over a long period of time.

    You may believe you’re a client of a genuine company or adviser. But it’s all one big lie to steal your money.

    Fraudsters pretend to be genuine companies or advisers

    For this type of scam to work, fraudsters pretend to be someone trustworthy, like an existing company or adviser. They copy genuine names and paperwork and try to appear like experts. Sometimes, they use apps and other technology so you can follow your fake investment. Before you invest, check the register of genuine companies and advisers on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website.

    Fraudsters copy genuine websites

    To invest safely, you need to use genuine contact details to make sure you’re in touch with a real company or adviser. Fraudsters send links by email or on social media to take you to fake sites with phony contact details. Get genuine phone numbers and website addresses on the FCA site.

    How do they want you to pay?

    Be suspicious if you need to pay by bank transfer. It’s like giving a fraudster cash and usually you won’t get your money back. Another trick is to ask you to pay an account on a genuine site or app that they control or can access. Fraudsters are often keen to get your money, but they can struggle to explain how an investment works in simple terms. Ask lots of questions. If you make it difficult for a fraudster, they may give up.

    Have you done any research or got advice?

    Before you invest, always do lots of research. Tell your family and friends about a deal to find out what they think. Talk with an independent financial adviser and check the scam warning list on the FCA site.

    Did you expect an offer to invest?

    If you get a phone call, email or text about an investment, it may be a fraudster. They can get in touch using stolen contact details. Or they post adverts online about a deal and you enter personal and financial details to find out more. The more a fraudster knows about you, the more chance they have to convince you it’s genuine.

    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

Have you seen any offers to make easy money online or on social media? Fraudsters create these deals to draw you into a scam.

They use things like cryptocurrency to promise quick returns. But the only guarantee is that you’ll lose your money.

Fraudsters create social media profiles

There are lots of investment scams on social media. Fraudsters message or post about deals that promise quick returns on your money. Fake success stories are all part of the scam to encourage you to invest. The only thing that’s true, is you’ll lose every penny you send.

Did somebody recommend an investment?

Sometimes friends on social media seem to support an investment. They may not realise it’s a scam or fraudsters may have hacked their account. Fraudsters also know that celebrities can attract people. So, they use their image without permission to sell a scam. Be suspicious of any offer that guarantees a return on your money.

Do you have to pay right away?

Fraudsters know that quick returns or short deadlines can force you into a fast decision. Check that an investment, company or adviser is real before you send any money. Research can help you to keep your money safe from a scam.  

Have you done any research or got advice?

Before you invest, always do lots of research. Tell your family and friends about a deal to find out what they think. Check the register of companies and scam warning list on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website.

How do they want you to pay?

Fraudsters want bank transfers because it’s the same as giving them cash. When you pay, they’ll take your money and usually you won’t get it back. Fraudsters may make an investment difficult to understand so you have to rely on their help. If you question them too much, they may think you’re suspicious and stop all contact. Always find out as much as you can about an investment and ask someone else what they think.

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

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

Other scams fraudsters use to trick you

Fraudsters use some of the same tricks to sell things online and to steal house deposits or pension savings.

Mortgage scams

How to protect your house deposit from scams.

Keep your deposit safe

Pension scams

Did you know fraudsters can target your pension?

Protect your pension

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?

Contact us right away if you think you've been scammed. We can then guide you on what to do next.

Contact us now

Stay scam safe

Find out how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud

Stay scam safe

Find out how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud