Share fraud scam

Be a ScamSmart investor and spot the warning signs

Fraudsters will often:

  • contact you out of the blue
  • apply pressure to invest quickly
  • downplay the risks to your money
  • promise tempting returns that sound too good to be true
  • say that they’re only making the offer available to you or even ask you to not tell anyone else about it

How to avoid investment scams:

Reject unexpected offers

Scammers usually cold call, but contact can also come by email, post, word of mouth or at a seminar or exhibition. If you’ve been offered an investment out of the blue, chances are it’s a high risk investment or a scam.

Check the FCA Warning List

Use the FCA Warning List to check the risks of a potential investment – you can also search to see if the firm is known to be operating without FCA authorisation.

Get impartial advice

Get impartial advice before investing – don’t use an adviser from the firm that contacted you.

How to protect yourself

FCA-authorised firms are unlikely to contact you out of the blue with an offer to buy or sell shares or bonds. 

You should:

  • only deal with financial services firms that are authorised by FCA, and check the Register to ensure they are at You can also check FCA Warning List of firms to avoid
  • check the firm isn’t a clone firm by asking for their firm reference number (FRN) and contact details and then calling them back on the switchboard number on FCA’s Register – never use a link in an email or website from the firm offering you an investment.
  • always be wary if you’re contacted out of the blue, pressured to invest quickly or promised returns that sound too good to be true.
  • consider seeking financial advice or guidance before investing.
  • make sure that any firm you deal with is regulated by FCA and never take investment advice from the company that contacted you, as this may be part of the scam.

If you receive any unsolicited investment advice:

You can report a firm or scam to the Financial Conduct Authority on 0800 111 6768 or through

If you’ve lost money in a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or

More detailed information can be found on the FCA website: and