Almost 50,000 investors are set to receive warnings from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) following the discovery of a sinister fraud list that details the names of numerous potential targets.
Thought to be the work of 'boiler room' fraudsters, criminals who dupe investors into purchasing immensely overpriced or even completely non-existent shares, the list names around 49,000 people living in the UK, most of whom are in London and the south-east.
Scams like these are thought to cost victims around £200 million per year, and so far in 2010 this is the fourth such list that has been uncovered.
Margeret Cole, managing director of the FSA's financial crime division, said: “This latest list is the biggest we have ever recovered and we are contacting every single person on it in the hope we can stop people losing money. Even if only one in 10 we contact heed our warning it could mean around £96m is not invested in these scams. Boiler room fraudsters often sound like the real deal so it is easy to be drawn in by their professional and high pressure sales tactics. In reality however, the shares are worthless or do not exist and the money is lost forever.”