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Guidance on share fraud

Beware of unsolicited calls or correspondence

Companies are aware that some of their shareholders have received unsolicited phone calls or correspondence concerning investment matters which imply a connection to the company concerned. These are typically from overseas based ‘brokers’ who target UK shareholders offering to sell them what often turn out to be worthless or high risk shares in US or UK investments. Shareholders may also be advised that there is an imminent offer for the company, and the caller may offer to buy shares at significantly above the market price if an administration fee is paid. This is known as ‘boiler room fraud’.

They can be very persistent and extremely persuasive and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reported that the average amount lost by each investor is around £20,000. It is not just the novice investor that has been duped in this way; many of the victims had been successfully investing for several years. Shareholders are advised to be very wary of any unsolicited advice or offers to buy shares at a discount.

If you receive any unsolicited investment advice of this nature:

  • Make sure you get the correct name of the person and organisation and make a record of any other information they give you, e.g. telephone number, address etc. and if unwanted calls persist, hang up.
  • If you receive telephone calls, emails or letters purporting to be from bp or from companies endorsed by bp and you are unsure if they are legitimate, please contact us for clarification.
  • Check that they are authorised before getting involved. If the caller claims to be a UK broker, you can check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register . If the caller claims to be a US broker, or refers to investing in US shares or shares in US companies that are about to float on the stock market but can only be sold to non-US citizens, you can check if they are authorised on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) register. If you deal with an unauthorised firm you will not be eligible to receive payment under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
  • Report the matter to the FCA in the UK or SEC in the US as appropriate.

What to do if you have been a victim of boiler room fraud

If you think you may have been a victim of boiler room fraud, you should report the matter to your local Police Station or to Action Fraud . Further information regarding Boiler Room Fraud is available on the Serious Fraud Office website.