Share fraud includes scams where investors are called out of the blue and offered shares that often turn out to be worthless or non-existent, or an inflated price for shares they own. These calls come from fraudsters in "boiler rooms" that are mostly based abroad and they can be very persistent and extremely persuasive.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported that the average amount lost by investors is around £20,000 each year.
It is not just the novice investor that has been duped in this way; many of the victims had been successfully investing for several years. Shareholders are advised to be very wary of any unsolicited advice, offers to buy shares at a discount or offers of free company reports.
For advice on how to handle a suspicious approach, please download this leaflet from the FCA:
Beware of share fraud - FCA leaflet
Action Fraud helpline: 0300 123 2040
Fraud website: www.actionfraud.org.uk
FCA consumer helpline: 0800 111 6768
FCA online reporting form: www.fca.org.uk/scams