Man’s retirement destroyed after losing ‘life savings’ to fraudsters
With scams rife, Britons are being urged to remain on the look out by Lloyds Bank, as fraudsters are looking to take advantage. A man shared how he was targeted after going online to manage his money.
He had fixed interest bonds due to mature, and was impressed by various professional-looking websites which appeared on his search.
Clicking on one, he left his details and soon received a call from a man claiming to be a ‘portfolio manager’ named ‘Josh’.
The pair struck up a friendly conversation, where ‘Josh’ asked what money and investments the man had.
The ‘manager’ explained the Bonds on offer, all with household names, and they were paying more than the man had seen elsewhere, so he agreed to go ahead.
After supposedly being checked by the compliance department of the company, the man sent over a copy of his passport and was delighted to find he had been ‘approved’.
Josh then told him the Bonds were about to close, and he would need to send over his money as soon as possible.
With the relevant bank details, the man popped into his branch. The name on the account was different to the company he was investing in, but Josh reassured him the money was being sent to a holdings company.
However, this was a sign a scam was taking place and should’ve sent alarm bells ringing for the man.
He explained: “The cashier asked some questions about whether I was happy. I said yes, and the payment was made. A few days later, the certificates arrived, happy days.”
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But a week later, ‘Josh’ called with a supposedly “amazing deal”, urging the man to cash in investments he’d held for years.
The man continued: “I wasn’t unhappy with them, but I thought – why not? If I got the return he promised, the whole family could go abroad, and the wife had a big birthday coming up.”
He gave instructions to cash everything in, and ‘Josh’ gave him a different bank account to transfer the funds to.
But weeks later, he realised he hadn’t received any certificates, and concerned, he decided to call ‘Josh’ – but the number was unobtainable.
Looking up the number of the company, he called them, but was told they had no record of ‘Josh’.
The man added: “I started to sweat. I gave the reference numbers on the earlier certificates, but they were fake.”
It was at this point he realised he had fallen victim to an investment scam – where fraudsters set up websites pretending to be authorised advisers in order to dupe Britons out of their hard-earned cash.
The criminals use names of respected companies, who have no idea these scams are taking place, as well as sending genuine-looking but fake documents to add to their supposed legitimacy.
But instead of investing money, they keep it for themselves and then disappear, leaving Britons devastated.
The man said: “My wife’s not taken well to all of this. Her blood pressure is up and she’s not sleeping. I blame myself. Our retirement isn’t going to be what we’d worked for.
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“It’s hard to believe people are cruel enough to take someone else’s life savings, but, take it from me – they are.”
When making investments, the man strongly urged people to check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website to determine if a company is regulated.
This could show any warnings, such as if a company has been cloned: if someone is impersonating them.
In addition, people should check who they are talking to by calling the number of the company on the FCA website and talking to them personally.
Individuals are also encouraged to check any emails they receive are in the same format as on the FCA website.
The man concluded: “If you’re making a payment as an investment, make sure you complete the basic checks. They don’t take long.
“You could save yourself a lifetime of regret, believe me.”
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