FSA warns of dramatic increase in overseas share fraudsters targeting British investors

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Share fraudsters are upping their efforts to trick you into losing your cash, the Financial Services Authority warned last week. The City watchdog says there has been a dramatic increase in overseas fraudsters selling shares using the names, registration numbers and addresses of FSA-authorised firms and individuals.

The crooks trick unsuspecting investors by cloning real financial firms' websites but making subtle changes such as including false email addresses or the fraudsters' own phone numbers. Their aim? To persuade you to send them your cash – which you'll never see again.

"If somebody calls you out of the blue to promote shares, then you should be very wary of them," warns Jonathan Phelan, the head of the FSA's unauthorised business department.

If you are cold-called by someone claiming to be from a legitimate firm, ask for the contact details of the person calling you and then check the firm or individual's status on the FSA register at fsa.gov.uk/register. Then call the firm back on the switchboard number provided on the FSA register to make sure the call came from the real firm.

If you are contacted by a suspicious firm, report the encounter to the FSA on 0300 500 5000.

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