Belfast Telegraph

Watchdog alerts thousands over 'boiler room' shares scam

The City watchdog is contacting more than 49,000 people to warn them that their names were on a list being used by fraudsters trying to sell worthless shares.

The move comes after the Financial Services Authority (FSA) recovered its biggest ever master list of names being used in so-called boiler room scams.

The list, the fourth one to be recovered this year, contains the names, addresses and telephone numbers of 49,387 people, who are mainly in London, but with significant numbers also based in Scotland and the South East.

The regulator is writing to everyone whose details appear on the list, explaining steps they can take to protect themselves from boiler room fraud, and telling them what to do if they think they may be a victim.

Boiler room scams involve fraudsters using high pressure sales tactics to con investors into buying non-tradable, overpriced or even non-existent shares. They are thought to cost the UK around £200m a year. Firms selling the shares are not regulated by the FSA, meaning consumers do not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.

The latest list is thought to still be in use by fraudsters in the UK and overseas and is likely to have been circulated between different boiler room networks.