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FMA urges investors to know scam warning signs

Page last updated: 16 Nov 2017

Media release
MR No. 2017 – 49
16 November 2017

‘Bob’ from Christchurch lost $67,000 after being cold-called by scammers who persuaded him to ‘invest’ in a pharmaceutical firm.

His case is being highlighted by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) as part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise’s Fraud Awareness Week.

When Bob received a call from an overseas company, he initially said no. However, he did some research on the company and it looked legitimate. At the time it did not appear on the FMA’s warnings lists and wasn’t connected to any scams.

Over a period of time, Bob paid the scammers a total of $67,000. He became suspicious when the company told him the shares had been sold, and he would receive the funds the following week. He never received the money and was later told he’d need to pay another $21,000 to get the funds released. Bob hasn’t paid this.

He continues to receive up to six unsolicited calls a day. Read his story to learn the warning signs.

Paul Gregory, FMA Director of External Communications and Investor Capability said, “The best thing investors can do to someone cold-calling offering an investment from offshore is to put down the phone. Ignore that e-mail. If you hand over money and it turns out to be a scam, it’s often impossible to get your money back.”

Before you invest:

  • Check if the provider is licensed by the FMA. A licensed provider offers you greater protections. Registration on the Financial Services Providers Register does not mean a provider is licensed.
  • Make sure the company isn’t on our warnings list.
  • Be extra cautious if the provider is based overseas. If it is a scam it’s often impossible to recover your money.
  • Read the FMA’s steps to protect yourself.

In October the FMA recorded the highest number of monthly calls about fraud, scams and cold calls for more than two years. This may partly reflect the FMA highlighting issues around binary options fraud as part of World Investor Week. 

Edwin Mitson
Ph: 021 702 036