The Personal Finance Society have pledged its full support to the latest campaign by the FCA to warn consumers about the growing threat of online investment fraud.
The professional body’s re-affirmation of its continued backing coincides with the FCA’s announcement earlier today that investors lost £87,410 per day to binary options scams last year.
“We have a collective duty to protect the public against the increasing scourge of scams,” asserted Personal Finance Society chief executive, Keith Richards. “Our profession has a vital role to play – not only in protecting the interests of clients and their families, but also the public at large.”
The PFS has aligned itself with ScamSmart since it was launched in October 2014 and in April 2015 supplemented it with their own ‘Don’t get stung’ anti-scam initiative to help people differentiate between regulated and non-regulated pension advice.
“One cannot underestimate the reputational damage that scammers cause for the profession when the public are unable to distinguish between genuine expert advice and that of a fraudster,” said Richards.
“We must do whatever we can to reassure them about the value of regulated professional advice, at a time when demand for it has never been higher. Those charlatans who seek to deceive and defraud consumers need to know that we will not tolerate it.
“Our members are best placed to spot the signs of a potential scam and thousands have already signed-up to a commitment to devote at least 15 minutes per month to scour the internet and report back with any suspicious findings via a dedicated link to the FCA.
“It is imperative that we highlight the risks involved and the devious methods some unscrupulous companies will go to, to relieve people of their hard-earned cash. Scammers need to be aware that we are growing increasingly alert to their tactics and anything brought to our attention will be reported immediately to the FCA.
“Our underlying advice to consumers is unwavering: if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely will be. Make sure you know who you are dealing with and check that the person or company involved is authorised by the FCA or the PFS accredited adviser directory.”