We’ve been made aware of an investment scam that was recently sent to an elderly Islander.
The scammers go under the name of ‘Clifton Consulting Group LLC’ and have rented a small office in a building located at 100 Broadway New York. They also appear to have a professional looking website which could trick many.
The fraudsters place a call from their ‘acquisitions department’, explaining they are buying up small private investor holdings of G4S shares. The conversation is very convincing and it’s understandable how someone could be persuaded they are authentic.
The part of the conversation that highlights it is a scam is when they offer to pay double the market price – a too good to be true offer. In fact, we were recently advised that a lady in North England was offered £50,000 for a holding worth only a few hundred pounds.
However, in the example we have learned about, the Islander who does indeed hold G4S shares, provided his contact details and received an email containing an official looking and well-written letter from ‘Consulting Group LLC’, with a valid New York address. The letter asked him for further details about his shareholding and enclosed a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) confirming ‘he will not disclose confidential information about the acquisition of G4S PLC to other parties’.
Thankfully, he asked a family member to print if for him and having called the FCA (the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority) for advice, it was confirmed as a scam.
We’ve since been contacted by several more Islanders who have also been targeted with the scammers asking to purchase their shareholdings in a number of other companies such as Lumen Technology, Fibernet, Costain Group or BritshGas/Centrica.
The way these scams unfold is that the company has no intention of sending any money to the shareholder, and will keep stalling with requests like ‘first, we need you to…..
– purchase some insurance to protect the deal
– pay the tax on your holding/payment
– pay the legal and/or banking fees.’
They will keep asking for payments to be made as long as they can, using scare tactics such as ‘if the next payment is not made, you risk losing the whole value of your shares.’
If something looks too good to be true, it usually is. Even when it looks professional, if you’re contacted out of the blue by a company, always check it with a family member, friend or professional body before taking further action.
As a member of the Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum (JFPF), we’ll be passing this information on to share with others.
Please let us, the States of Jersey Police or the JFPF know of any scams you receive or have fallen victim to.