Derbyshire detectives are issuing advice to try and end stock and shares fraud across the county.
The fraud, also known as bond fraud or share sale, involves bogus stockbrokers cold calling members of the public to offer non-existent or worthless shares by promising a high return.
The professionally sounding scammers promise free research reports, special discounts or secret stock tips if people invest.
Once a rapport is established, the caller will then continue to pressure the victim into handing over further funds.
Over recent years, Derbyshire officers have investigated many boiler room frauds, with one case involving victims investing their savings into shares for oil, gas, petrol and gold, along with big company names such as Disney and Apple.
The amounts invested into non-existent shares varied from thousands to over a million pounds.
In these cases, the bogus stockbrokers created a sophisticated website to convince the victims that the investment companies they were dealing with were genuine. They were able to log onto the site to check figures in their own personal trading account, similar to that of online banking used by high street banks.
The trading accounts would be falsely updated to show an increasing investment portfolio. This often saw the victims investing more into the non-existent shares.
In other cases, fraudsters have been known to provide endorsed paperwork such as share certificates to make the investments seem credible.
What should you do if you’re a victim of boiler room fraud?
Break off all contact with the fraudster at once and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040;
Alert your bank immediately if you’ve given the fraudsters your bank account details;
Keep any written communications you’ve received from the boiler room fraudsters. This may help you give evidence to the authorities;
Because many boiler rooms are run from abroad, they’re not covered by UK jurisdiction or compensation schemes. Therefore, you’re unlikely to recover any lost investment;
Be aware that you are now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds;
People who’ve already fallen victim to fraudsters are particularly vulnerable to the fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters contact people who’ve already lost money through fraud and claim to be law enforcement officers or lawyers. They advise the victim that they can help them recover their lost money – but request a fee.
Anyone who thinks they may have bene a victim of boiler room fraud call 101, the non-emergency for Derbyshire police. To report a fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.