What is boiler room fraud?

Share fraud and boiler room scams are increasingly sophisticated operations where investors are called out of the blue and offered shares that turn out to be worthless, overpriced or non-existent.

These calls often come from fraudsters operating from ‘boiler rooms’, but the high-pressure sales tactics can also come by email, post, word of mouth or at a seminar.

While high profits are promised, those who buy or sell shares in this way usually lose their money.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found most share fraud victims are experienced investors who lose an average of £20,000, with around £200m lost in the UK each year.

Paddington Wealth

December 2020: We are aware that a number of shareholders have received unsolicited calls about their Imperial shareholding from individuals purporting to represent an organisation called Paddington Wealth. Claims made in the calls appear to be fraudulent. If you receive such an approach do not provide any personal details and report the matter to the FCA.

See: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/paddington-wealth

How to protect yourself

If you are offered unsolicited investment advice, discounted shares, a premium price for shares you own, or free company or research reports, you should take these steps before handing over any money:

  • Get the name of the person and organisation contacting you
  • Check that they are properly authorised on the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk
  • Use the details on the FCA Register to contact the organisation
  • 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the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 if there are no contact details on the Register or you are told they are out of date
  • Report the matter to the FCA by completing an online form at www.fca.org.uk/scams
  • Inform our registrars, Equinti, on 0371 384 2037

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you use an unauthorised firm to buy or sell shares or other investments, you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

If you have already paid money to share fraudsters you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Shareholder contacts

Key contacts for shareholder queries