What is it?

You are persuaded to move money to a fictitious fund on behalf of your business or to pay for a fake investment with the promise of a high return with little to no risk.

Your business may be targeted via cold callers pressuring you to act quickly, claiming the opportunity presented is time limited. Criminals will find out as much information as possible about your business and may provide details of previous business investments or shares held.

How to spot an investment scam

  1. Your business is contacted out of the blue by phone, email or social media platform about an investment opportunity
  2. You are pressurised into making a decision with no time to consider the investment or do any research into the organisation providing you with the offer
  3. You are offered a high return on your investment with what appears to be little to no risk
  4. You are told the investment opportunity is exclusive to you and your business

Examples of an investment scam

Brian* was searching for ways to raise capital for his new business.  He’d searched online and filled in a couple of forms for different organisations asking before them to  contact him.  When he received a call from a broker offering him an exclusive investment opportunity, guaranteed to make quick and high returns, he was really pleased. The caller assured him the investment was safe and directed him to a seemingly genuine website where he could find out more information. Brian agreed to invest a large proportion of the business’s profits, not realising that the money he was transferring was instead going straight into the hands of criminals.

*Case studies are based on insights from partners

If you believe your business has fallen for a scam, contact the bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on the back of your business’s bank card.

Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101 or Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000.

Always remember

Be cautious of unsolicited approaches presenting your business with exclusive investment opportunities or online opportunities advertised through search engines that seem too good to be true – they probably are

Check the Financial Conduct Authority’s register for regulated firms, individuals and bodies. You can check their website is genuine by checking their web address. It should always begin with fca.org.uk or register.fca.org.uk. Ensure you only use the contact details listed on the Register to confirm you’re dealing with the genuine firm before parting with your money and information.

Report scam ads appearing in paid-for space online by visiting the Advertising Standard Authority’s website where you can complete their quick reporting form.

If you have visited a website you think is suspicious you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.

Scam warning: Criminals may purport to be from Take Five, using our official branding on websites, social media posts, literature, on the phone or by text. Take Five doesn’t provide endorsement or approval for any products/services and would never call or text anyone.