Scams can look like great deals and get-rich-quick schemes.
We show you what to look out for and what to do to help keep your money safe.
Investing can be a great way to make money. But there are lots of scam deals out there to tempt you.
It takes hard work and lots of research to find a good investment.
Tips to avoid investment scams
Fraudsters put adverts for scam investments online and can send deals by phone or email. Often, a deal will offer returns that you can't get elsewhere.
If somebody contacts you out of the blue with a deal, it’s most likely a scam.
Fraudsters do their research to try to gain your trust. They may know a lot of details about you and your finances. And can even pretend to be someone you know to target you on social media.
Other tricks they use are to put you under pressure or to ask you to keep it secret. Never trust a deal that has a short deadline and wants to hurry your decision. And if they tell you to keep quiet about a deal, it’s a scam.
Talk to your friends and family as they may be able to help. See what they think about an investment.
To help make the most of your money, contact an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA).
The FCA website has a register of companies who are allowed to offer products and services. They also have a warning list of scam companies and deals.
It also gives advice on how to:
- find an IFA
- spot a scam, and
- avoid fake companies.
Fraudsters can pretend to be a genuine advisor, company or website as part of a scam. And they can set up fake financial companies.
They may advertise online or send you a message out of the blue with a deal.
It’s easy to get scammed if you click on an advert or reply to a message.
Use the FCA website instead to find genuine contact details for a company and links to their site.
Fraudsters can also set up fake companies and sites. Fake sites can be good copies of the real thing. So look out for these tell-tale signs before you use a site, log on or fill in any personal or banking details:
- Wrong site address - Check that it’s spelt correctly. If you’re not sure, type it directly into the browser bar at the top of your screen.
- Odd layout - The pages may not look right, with different colours, logos and spelling or grammar mistakes.
- Lack of contact details - There should be details on how to get in touch, including an address, a business telephone number and even social media links.
- No or bad reviews - Look for what others say about the site. If there are no reviews or mostly bad ones, it may be dodgy.
When you use a site look for the closed padlock image. This lets you know that the link to a site is secure. You can find it in the address bar.
A secure site will also have https:// at the start of its address.
But remember, these don’t guarantee that a site is genuine.
A scam investment may ask you to pay by multiple online payments, in branch or by wire transfer.
If you pay this way and it’s a scam, it’s very hard to get your money back.
Fraudsters can ask you to pay an account in a different name to the company you are meant to invest with. If the names don’t match, it’s a sign of a scam.
The list below covers some of the most common investment scams. But there are many more to keep an eye out for.
- Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin.
- Precious gems or metals.
- Land abroad.
You can get straight forward, impartial advice on how to avoid scams from Take Five.
You can report a crime or get general advice from Action Fraud. They help banks and other companies combat fraud.
They offer advice on how to keep yourself and your devices safe from fraud.
UK Finance is there to support customers and to help make sure it's safe to bank.
Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
The PRA is part of the Bank of England. Their role is to make sure banks act safely and reduce the chance of them losing money.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The FCA is there to make sure banks work well so customers are protected and get a fair deal.
CIFAS can help to protect your identity. They can stop fraudsters from using your details to apply for things in your name.
This is a government site that gives advice on how to stay safe online.
This is part of the FCA site. You can use it to check on an investment or pension deals to help you avoid scams.
Lloyds Bank does not control the content of third party websites linked to on this page.
Important legal information
Lloyds Bank plc. Registered office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales No. 2065. Lloyds Bank plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278.
Eligible deposits with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Personalisation. We will always greet you personally using your Title and Surname. We will never use ‘Dear User’ or ‘Dear Valued Customer’. Where you hold an existing account with us, we will quote the last four digits of your account number, such as your current account, savings account or credit card. If you don’t yet have an account with us but we have your postal address details, we may use part of your postcode. Internet Banking-related emails may also include your Internet Banking User ID.
Links. All links within our emails will go to a page on www.lloydsbank.com, or to trusted Government regulatory websites (e.g. Financial Ombudsman, Financial Conduct Authority, etc). Research emails may take you to a partner research company website but you will not be asked for any Internet Banking log on details.
In fraudulent emails, website addresses may appear genuine on first sight, but if you hover your mouse over the link without clicking, it may reveal a different web address. On our genuine emails the link address always starts with email.lloydsbank.com or www.lloydsbank.com. We will never link direct through to our Internet Banking log on page or to a page that asks for your security or personal details.