Warning to Shareholders Against Investor Fraud (Boiler Room Fraud)
Investors should be vigilant to potential scams targeted at shareholders in Irish and other public companies.
How the share scams operate
These so called “boiler room scams” are operated by fraudsters who contact investors unexpectedly and offer to buy their shares at prices higher than current market value. These unauthorised individuals and companies obtain investor information and contact details by accessing publicly available shareholder lists. While cold-calling by phone is the most common form of contact they may also use email, post, face-toface contact or approach investors at seminars.
These individuals often use high pressure sales tactics and tell investors that they need to make a quick decision or miss out on a deal which will give them a large return on their investment. The offer to purchase shares will likely come with a request for bank details or money up front as a bond or other form of security, which will be accompanied by a guarantee to pay back the money involved if the sale does not go ahead. This advance fee is part of the scam – investors are unlikely to hear from them again.
What to do if you’re contacted
If you are in receipt of an unsolicited call from someone offering to buy your shares you should:
- Take a note of the name of the person and organisation that has contacted you.
- Do not respond to high pressure tactics to provide bank details or arrange to transfer money if you are unsure of the nature of the caller.
- Check if the company or individual is appropriately authorised to operate as an investment firm in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland, or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). View the list of authorised investment firms here.
View the list of unauthorised firms that the Central Bank has issued Warning Notices on and a form to report a suspected
unauthorised firm here. Alternatively investors may contact the Central Bank on +353 (0)1 224 4000, or the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
- Obtain independent advice from a qualified advisor or stockbroker.
- Report any unsolicited approaches in relation to your shares to the company’s registrar.
REMEMBER: IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!