Warning for customers: identifying Clone firms
It is important to be vigilant when dealing with financial firms that you have not previously worked with, especially firms or individuals that contact you out of the blue. Sadly, fraudsters are more active now than ever.
A new tactic that has come to light involves scammers using the name, ‘firm registration number’ (FRN) and actual address of firms authorised by the FCA to imply they are genuine. This is called a ‘clone firm’.
Fraudsters from clone firms typically contact people by cold-calling individuals in an attempt to sell personal loans, promote shares, property or other investment opportunities that are most likely non-existent. Remember; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
These scammers may use the names of genuine LendInvest companies and employees, including the FRN issued by the FCA.
Please note: LendInvest provides property finance only, we do not provide personal unsecured loans.
If you suspect you may have been contacted by one of these fraudulent firms, please run a quick search on the FCA’s website to check the genuine firm details against those flagged as the clone firms that are being used to defraud people: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/lendinvest-loans-limited-clone
Take steps to protect yourself
- Request the name of the person and organisation that is contacting you
- Check the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk to ensure they are an authorised firm
- Use the details on the FCA Register to contact the firm
- Call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 if there are no contact details on the Register or you are told they are out of date
- Search the FCA list of unauthorised firms and individuals to avoid doing business with at www.fca.org.uk/consumers/scams
- Check the products and services available at LendInvest by visiting our site at https://www.lendinvest.com/borrow/
- Verify LendInvest websites and contact details by visiting https://www.lendinvest.com/about/contact-us/
- Don’t trust hyperlinks to email addresses or websites. The hyperlink description can be used to disguise its true origin. Just hover over the link to find the underlying URL or use an online URL expansion tool to check if it is valid
How to report a scam
If you suspect you have fallen victim to a scam, it is important you take the following actions to protect yourself where possible and make the relevant authorities aware:
- You may be able to contact your bank or the police (by calling 101) – particularly if you have transferred any money within the last 24 hours
- We would encourage you to report it to Action Fraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/loan-scams
- If you are approached about a scam or you believe that you have been a victim of fraud, you should inform the FCA using their fraud reporting form at: www.fca.org.uk/consumers/report-scam-unauthorised-firm
Citizens Advice offer support information: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/get-help-dealing-with-the-effects-of-scams/