Investor Risk Warning
Investor Risk Warning
Please be alert when using price comparison websites, receiving telephone calls or emails from people purporting to represent Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) or any of its affiliated brands, including Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI), or third parties purporting to represent our interests.
We are aware of a number of scams and attempted frauds through phone calls and websites claiming to be from SLA offering an investment opportunity or offering to buy existing investment shares (e.g. High Yield/Fixed Rate Bonds and also price comparison websites, social media advertising and search optimisation are being used to attract victims). If you have any concerns, contact our investor services centre using the details on our Contact Us page.
What to look out for
Members of the public may be contacted by people who claim to be from SLA and even using legitimate SLA employee names; fraudsters will often provide details to give the impression that they are calling on behalf of SLA in order to try and make you invest with them. They may try and attempt to sell you products, bonds or investments with the promise of financial gain or offer you advice over the telephone or email you links to bogus websites; they may even also have official sounding names and job titles.
However, these callers do not work for SLA; SLA would never make these types of offers and does not ‘cold-call’ investors in this way. Any third party making such offers has no links with SLA. These are attempts at fraud, they will either not exist or in fact be worthless; customers are advised not to respond to opportunities through cold callers, if something seems too good to be true it often is. You can check here for a complete list of authorised funds.
Similar to cold calling, fraudsters may contact you by email. They may ask you to provide personal information by email; the source of the email may be unclear or the company name and email address may be slightly misspelt. Be alert for emails which contain poor grammar, spelling or punctuation.
Payment to Third Party Account:
SLA will never ask you to pay funds into an account in the name of a third party, when investing with SLA you will always be requested to pay into an account in the name of SLA or one of its subsidiaries.
How can you protect yourself:
- Never provide personal details including passwords or answers to your security questions in an email. We never make these types of requests or offers via telephone call or email and would never contact potential investors in this way. If you have any doubt over the veracity of a person purporting to represent us, do not offer any personal information, end the call and contact our investor services centre using the details on our Contact Us
- Always seek independent financial advice and/or legal advice before proceeding with any investment.
- Never send funds to anyone you do not know.
- You should not respond to anyone who calls you attempting to sell you investment opportunities, simply hang up the phone.
- Type in the web address from official correspondence instead of clicking on a link.
- Genuine web addresses should begin with “https://www.”.
- When the site you are visiting is genuine you should see a padlock symbol to the left hand side of the address bar. This applies when reaching payment pages as well. The web address should begin with “https” and have the padlock symbol to the left of the address bar.
- You can check if the firm is authorised by checking your local regulator. The UK consumer group ‘Which?’ has also published simple, straightforward advice on their website regarding how to spot a scam.
The Financial Conduct Authority provides advice with respect to share fraud and boiler room scams here: fca.org.uk/consumers/scams and you can check whether an investment or pension opportunity is a scam on the FCA warning list: www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/warning-list
PLEASE NOTE: If you deal with an unauthorised firm you will have no protection if something goes wrong.
What are the warning signs?
How do I protect myself?
|Requesting your PIN or password||A genuine bank or organisation will never ask for these types of personal details. Never give them if prompted.|
|Requesting personal details or financial information||Never give them if it’s not for a service you want.|
|Tempting returns that sound too good to be true||If an investment sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Trust your instinct and do not proceed.|
|Offering reassurance about the risks involved||If you are told not to worry about the risks and that the investment is safe, don’t simply accept that it’s true.|
|Exclusive offers||If you are told the offer is only available to you, or you are asked not to tell anyone else about the opportunity, this is a sign it’s not genuine. Do not engage in any further communication.|
|Unnecessary pressure||If you’re told it’s a time-limited offer, or are offered a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date, don’t be pressured into acting quickly – a genuine bank or investment firm won’t mind giving you time to think.|
|Scammers are persistent and will often try to form a relationship with you in an effort to build your trust.||Beware of anyone who calls you repeatedly and/or anyone who tries to keep you on the phone for long periods of time.|
|Receiving a ‘clone’ email that seems to be from a real firm||
If unsure, always use the contact details on the FCA Register, not the details the firm gives you.
The FCA’s Warning List is a list of firms and individuals that the FCA knows are operating without its authorisation. It also notes the risks associated with a particular investment opportunity.
You should also check the firm’s details with directory enquiries or Companies House to make sure they’re the same.
|Some companies that run scams base themselves overseas in order to avoid regulatory requirements||Be cautious if a company that is based overseas contacts you with investment opportunities.|
Unrecognisable email address
If you get an email, expand the pane at the top of the message and see exactly who it has come from – if it’s a scam, the email address of the sender may be filled with random numbers or be misspelled.
Unconfirmed changes on your account
If you have any doubts at all about what you are being asked to do, check with your provider. Always use contact details you can trust, for example the phone number on your bank statement or policy documentation.
Fraudsters are known to target previous victims of investment fraud, claiming that they can recover lost money.
You might be asked to pay an upfront fee but these companies will not get back your money.
Request to pay funds to a third party account
We will never ask for funds to be paid to an account that is not in the name of SLA or its subsidiaries, where the bank details seem suspicious do not make payment without first contacting your bank.
If you think you have been caught out
If you think you have been the victim of a fraudulent scam, or that someone is trying to defraud you, contact your bank and the Police as soon as possible. Fraudsters are known to re-target those previously targeted, claiming that they can recover lost money; this is false. There are other actions you can take, depending on what country you live in.
If you live in the UK the services in this list can help if you have, or think you have been the victim of fraud:
- If you think you may have been caught out, defrauded or experienced cybercrime, we recommend that you contact Action Fraud (which is the National Fraud & Cybercrime Reporting Centre) or report directly to the Police if you live in Scotland.
- The UK consumer group ‘Which?’ has also published useful advice regarding how to report a scam. This website also provides contact details of additional support services available to the victims of fraud.
- If you have been the victim of fraud, then contact CIFAS to register and protect your identity from a further attack. www.cifas.org.uk
- You can report a scam or unauthorised firm to the FCA:
FCA Clone Warnings
A clone firm will claim to be an authorised firm and may quote the real firm's Firm Reference Number (FRN) and address to suggest it is genuine. It might say it is connected to foreign firms listed on the Register or even copy an authorised firm’s website or investment materials, making subtle changes to details such as the contact phone number.
We have identified the below clone firms as claiming to be part of our group:
SLA Clients Ltd, previously known as JJ West Ltd (company number SC583141)
Requesting that investments that are made in a fraudulent bond are made payable to their account.
Standard Life Bonds (clone of FCA authorised firm)
• Financial Services Register – https://register.fca.org.uk/s/unauthorised-firm?id=0014G00002Za1NzQAJ
• List of unauthorised firm’s and individuals page – https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/standard-life-bonds-clone-fca-authorised-firm
Standard Life Aberdeen (clone of FCA recognised product and UK registered company)
• Financial Services Register – https://register.fca.org.uk/s/unauthorised-firm?id=0014G00002Za1RlQAJ
• List of unauthorised firm’s and individuals page - https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/standard-life-aberdeen-clone-recognised-product-uk-registered-company
Clone Firms for ASI
List of unauthorised firm’s and individuals page – https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/aberdeen-standard-investments-clone-authorised-firm
If you live outside the UK please check what services are available in your area, either from your government or consumer advice bodies. You can also search online for topics like "fraud prevention" or "report fraud".
If you have been caught out, it’s important that you report it to the authorities. If you do not report it to the authorities then we will not be able to assist. There may be others who have also fallen victim of the same scam and your information may form part of a bigger investigation and assist with an ongoing investigation.