Scammers are using ads on Facebook and other social media sites to lure people into buying fake financial bonds and other investments.

They’re getting better and better at making their unsuspecting victims hand over money in return for nothing. And they often pretend to be from genuine financial services companies, like us.

We’re going to share some tips to help you spot and avoid them. For more detail, visit our Investments and pensions financial scams page.

How to spot a scam investment ad

Just look out for some simple warning flags. Scam ads often:

  • Pretend they’re from a real financial services company
    • On the surface, they might be convincing. But if you look closely you’ll probably see missing details, typos, unofficial website links or other signs that they’re not real.
  • Talk about “guaranteed” investment instruments which are 100% secure
    • No investment is 100% secure – and any genuine financial services company has to make that very clear. Any company that claims otherwise is probably fake.
  • Offer sales pitches from representatives of real financial services companies
    • Not all financial service firms are authorised to market directly to the public, so this can be a red flag.
    • It’s always best to check any investment decisions with a financial adviser you already know and trust. If you don’t have one you can find one at Unbiased.
  • Send you to:
    • Fake comparison-style websites showing very high returns on their fake product. Those returns will be too good to be true.
    • Fake company websites that are much more basic or lighter on detail than ones belonging to real financial services firms.

What to expect if scammers message you

Scammers might message, email or call you. Or you might have got in touch with them. Either way, the person you talk with will very possibly:

  • Pretend they work for a real financial services company
  • Use the name of a real employee of that company
  • Share false information using fake company documents
  • Again, refer you to fake company or review websites that support their claims.

How to stay safe from scammers

  • If you’re offered high returns that look too good to be true – they probably are!
    • Steer clear of anyone who offers too good a deal
    • Don’t start talking to them – if you’re already chatting with them, end the conversation
  • If you spot a fake ad on Facebook or any other social media site, report it:
    • To the site, so they can take action and stop anyone else falling for it
    • To ActionFraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre
  • If a scammer is pretending to be from us:

What to do if you think you've been scammed

  • If you’ve handed over money and are worried that you’ve been scammed:
    • Contact your bank and report it to them straight away
    • Once you’ve done that, again let ActionFraud know about it
    • If they were pretending to be from a real company, let that company know

Related articles

Family jogging

Pension Credit: What is it and can I get it?

If you’re not sure what Pension Credit is or want to find out if you’re eligible, our guide will explain how to claim this State Pension top-up.

Man with son sitting on sofa

How to protect savings from inflation

Unsure about the impact of inflation on savings? We help you consider how to protect your savings from inflation.

Woman playing with her son

5 times you can pay into your pension that you might not know about

Not sure you can pay into a pension? We look at 5 times you can pay into your pension that you might not know about including maternity leave.