Crime Latest Sussex

Be wary of investment fraud scams in Sussex

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Police are warning of investment fraud after a number of victims have lost money to scams.

In May, police have recorded 20 cases of investment fraud where the victim is deemed vulnerable, resulting in a total loss of £1,208,864 in Sussex.

The scams typically involve a fraudster pretending to be from an investment company, offering victims opportunities and claiming they’re likely to profit from them. The victims then realised they have been scammed and report it to police.

The majority of victims have been contacted by telephone, but some were found on social media and others were looking for investments online.

A woman in her 60s from Ferring received calls from men claiming to be from Blackrock investment company.

She was persuaded by the fraudsters to invest and write a cheque for £75,000 that was collected by courier. This cheque did not go through, so the victim went into her bank and made a transfer of the same sum to an account.

The victim reported to her bank and it is being investigated.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning about fraudsters posing as Blackrock – which is a legitimate investment company – in a convincing manner. It advises people to be wary of cold callers as this is typical of scammers.

A man in his 70s in Chichester was searching online for where to invest when pop-up came up from what appeared to be an investment company.

He was contacted by a man saying he is from the company and was talked through possible investment opportunities.

The victim said everything seemed very plausible and legitimate due to what he read online and what he was told by the fraudster so decided to go through with it.

He tried to send £25,000 but his bank fortunately stopped it. He then tried to send £10,000, £10,000 and £5,000.

The man sent him a message saying he received £5,000 but nothing else.

The victim got in contact with his bank to find out why and he was passed onto Action Fraud. Thankfully he managed to get all his money back.

PC Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Safeguarding Abuse Officer for Sussex and Surrey Police said: “We are seeing victims lose devastating sums of money to fraudsters and are urging people to be wary when contacted by strangers about their money.

“If you are thinking of making an investment always check people are from where they say they are.

“Take your time to make decisions and remember that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.”

Report crime online or by calling 101.

For more information about Operation Signature, Sussex Police’s campaign to identify and protect vulnerable victims of fraud see the Force website here.