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Gateway to the East
 

Are you in your 50s or over? Do you own shares? Are you a mug?

Well, the last question is of course no! But too many very sensible people are being taken in by a very convincing scam that has resulted in losses of thousands of pounds!

Its a very simple scam, you get a very convincing telephone call from an earnest young man who has a fantastic share dealing tip. "Its a new technology company, just going public and possibly the best chance to buy in before the price rockets!" Its all a sham, the web site is a fake, the share certificates might be real but are worthless. The only real thing is your money that is now in their bank account!

Why over 50 and a share holder? The police have identified these people as most likely to be approached. All share holdings are listed publicly so your details are easily available!

My own experience

Fortunately no money lost but a phone call out of teh blue that turned very offensive and was followed up by further crank calls.

So, a cold call, complete stranger called up and started talking about investments and where to put money and how they had a selection of shares that were about to go public, I said "This is a boiler room scam isn't it, its my 1st!" person on the other phone insists he has never heard of it, no idea what I'm talking about etc etc... Then starts to get offensive, threatens to come round and do me over - and this from a cold calling investment adviser - shame on them! Anyway I ask what company he is calling from, what his name is, both of which change during the telephone call. Eventually he gets really irritated and slams the phone down on me. Success! Okay, I really don't recommend winding them up, they are thoroughly evil people!

Then I get a couple of crank calls, number withheld, all reported to the police both. That was a while ago so all died down now.

Another scam call, this time asking to speak to my wife, but I treated it totally differently and just repeated - "I don't know what you are talking about" phone eventually put down on me!

What They Are trying to do.

A boiler room scam is where they approach an unsuspecting member of the public and work hard at building up a relationship of trust such that eventually the unsuspecting person agrees to purchase what appear to be real shares or share options with the prospect of making loads of money!

The shares either don't exist, are worthless, are about to be worthless. Don't fall for it. You will never get a real call out of the blue offering you a real and honest way of making money through investments! It just doesn't happen!

The safest option is to:

  • put the phone down on all cold callers
  • just repeat - "I don't understand" they get fed up and put the phone down on you
  • don't play games with them - they are evil people who have set out to bankrupt you - they have your address

If you think you have fallen for one of these scams, go to the police, insist on speaking to somebody who knows what a boiler room scam is - remember, when you call the police, you will start out with a call centre, they most likely won't know what you are talking about!

See also: This is money - The Times online - The financial Services Authority

 

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