Last week, I covered the investment options provided by National Savings & Investments, including premiums bonds, which offer the chance to win up to £1m.
Unfortunately there are many other “get rich quick” offers out there, which aren’t backed by the Government, but instead are the work of fraudsters.
Since the start of July, I have come across severaschemes that have been offered to people living in Larne. Some schemes are sophisticated and plausible on the surface, usually promoting some new technology that is going to make vast amounts of money in a short space of time. For example, trading in carbon credits is often used by conmen who promise high returns, but want more and more money to be invested in order to get a return.
The Financial Conduct Authority has repeatedly warned consumers against these schemes in recent months.
Other schemes are basic pyramid arrangements, where some money is actually returned to investors in order to encourage even larger sums to be parted with. Anone who shows any interest are put on a “suckers list” and will be bombarded with further fraudulent investment opportunities.
The basic premise of some of these often involves some sort of cash windfall or valuable asset that is available to be claimed, but only after sending off a “registration fee”. The fee is, of course, never seen again and the cash fails to materialise.
In short, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. In the current low interest rate environment, anything guaranteeing returns over 10 per cent per annum is very likely to be fraudulent.
We advise our clients to always check that any investment offer is from a regulated firm using the Financial Conduct Authority register of firms at www.fca.org.uk/register. It is illegal to provide investment recommendations in UK without being on this register. www.unbiased.co.uk also provides a list of fully regulated Independent advisors, listed by postcode.
David Hill is a Chartered Financial Planner and Independent Financial Adviser at Hills Financial Planning, 15 Agnew Street, Larne. He can be contacted on 028 28276814 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org