Are you a 65-year-old man with £30,000 plus in savings? Happen to live in a metropolitan area? You're a prime target for investment fraudsters – or so says some rather in-depth profiling carried out by the City of London police.
According to stats from Action Fraud and the City of London police 77 per cent of people reporting investment fraud are men and have an average age of 65 and suffer an average loss of more than £32,000. And they tended to live in – you guessed it – metropolitan areas.
Many of these fraudsters rent offices in the city and use high pressure methods to sell shares to individuals who are duped into thinking they are about to skyrocket in value. It isn't until later on the victim discovers said shares are worthless. By then the sellers have done a disappearing act.
Between October 2013 and September 2014, over £1.73bn was lost to fraudsters, according to Action Fraud, which received reports from 5,252 investors across the UK.
The City of London police – home to Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau – has assessed millions of reports on fraud and judged each City-based boiler room is making on average £1.25m. Action Fraud recorded a 9.5 per cent increase in the number of reports last year.
As part of an effort to clamp down on this fraud and raise awareness, the City of London police and Trading Standards are launching a series of videos highlighting the impact of investment fraud, along with advice on how people can protect themselves.
A specialist role is being created to assist local authorities across the country to tackle bogus investment firms operating from serviced offices and using mail forwarding services.