"Scam” telephone calls by fraudsters to VCT shareholders Foresight has become aware that some shareholders within its VCTs (and other VCTs and Investment Trusts generally) have recently received unsolicited telephone calls from a third party, purporting to be acting on behalf of a client who is looking to acquire a controlling stake in the VCT, and offering to buy the shareholder's VCT shares at a highly inflated price. Foresight believes these calls to be fraudulent and part of a boiler room scam.
We are not clear whether the ultimate objective of this scam is to get the shareholder to transfer his/her VCT shares or whether there may be a payment requested up front from the shareholder first to facilitate sale of the VCT shares. Irrespective of the objective, these calls are part of a fraudulent attempt to obtain money from shareholders.
The Financial Services Authority (‘FSA’) says this is not uncommon and several VCT companies have been targeted. The FSA warns that brokers involved with the scams can be very persuasive and aggressive.
The FSA has published advice on its website: http://www.moneymadeclear.org.uk/news/scams/share_scams.html There is also a list of unauthorised firms to be wary of on the FSA website. Alternatively, you can download the FSA pamphlet here. If you deal with them and do fall victim to a scam, you will not be able to benefit from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and could have no way of regaining your money.
VCT shareholders are warned to be very suspicious if they receive any similar type of telephone call. If you have any doubts, please call Foresight on 01732 471 800.