Scam warning issued by GMP as fraudsters look to exploit Covid-19 impact

As the impact of the coronavirus leaves many with financial concerns, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) warns the public to remain vigilant to fraudsters who use this time of uncertainty to scam money out of innocent people.

Investment fraud is when a fraudster contacts someone pretending to offer the opportunity to invest in a variety of schemes or products with promise of a great return however, these schemes are often worthless or don’t exist at all.

With Covid-19 creating challenges financially for many, GMP are reminding the public to stay alert when thinking of parting with their money, and have issued advice on how to spot an investment scam:

·        You’re contacted out of the blue with the investment offer.

·        You’re shown glossy brochures, professional-looking websites and certificates that make them look authentic.

·        You’re pressured into making rushed decisions with no time to consider the nature of the investment.

GMP has also shared information on how to avoid becoming victim:

·        Never take up offers of investments on the spot from cold calls. To make safe investments, take a look at the Financial Conduct Authority’s ScamSmart warning list.

·        Don’t give your bank account details or sensitive information.

·        Fraudsters tend to target people over 65. Talk to elder family members and vulnerable people you care for to make sure they know how to spot bogus investments.

Detective Superintendent Estelle Mathieson, Head of GMP’s Economic Crime and Cyber Unit, said: “Covid-19 has affected us all in different ways, for some it has brought financial uncertainty and unfortunately it is this vulnerability that fraudsters will look to exploit.

“Our message to the public is to take your time with your money and personal information and don’t let anyone pressure you into making a rushed decision. Fraudsters are sophisticated and their investment scams will look like genuine investments with professional-looking websites and documents, so always check the Financial Conduct Authority’s ScamSmart warning list first. The @gmpfraud Twitter account also has up-to-date information on scams.

“Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of fraud to report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.”

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