£200 million later
Savers are being tricked out of half a million pounds every day after a surge in criminals targeting British pension riches, The Times can reveal.People with nest eggs to invest, including those with new freedoms to access their pensions, are falling for well-resourced foreign fraudsters impersonating the identities of legitimate companies.Investigations into “clone fraud” have almost doubled over the past year, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the City’s chief watchdog, with some victims losing hundreds of thousands of pounds.The finding comes as official figures obtained by The Times show that almost £200 million has been stolen by investment fraudsters over the past year, although this is thought to grossly underestimate the true scale of the problem because many victims are too ashamed to report the crime. In some cases, the sums lost have exceeded £250,000.
The watchdog has investigated 157 attempts to clone companies over the past year, up from 90 in 2015. Each cloned company is likely to have pursued thousands of savers. Names such as Halifax, Vanguard Asset Management and JO Hambro Capital Management have been targeted by the gangs that typically cold-call investors to promote shares, property or other opportunities that turn out to be non- existent.