Expat investor fraud is the new financial threat for Brits overseas

Published:  30 Aug at 6 PM
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Both at home and overseas, British investors are still falling foul of financial scammers.

Although the risk of so-called ‘pension liberation’ scams is now receding as government interventions kick in, the number of scams based on the value of investments is about to hit an all-time high. It seems government action as regards pension-linked fraud, including the cold-calling ban made law on January 9 plus a massive public awareness campaign, has finally taken effect. However and as always, fraudsters are one step ahead of lawmakers, leading to pensioners at home and overseas as well as expat investors losing their life savings.

For more than a decade, British expats across the world’s favourite work and retirement destinations have been targeted by financial scammers of one type or another, from those flogging totally unsuitable insurance-based offshore savings and investment bonds to others persuading their marks to invest in companies they know are about to fail. Adding these victims to the high numbers back in the UK, it’s clear a lot more needs to be done as regards basic consumer protection.

Unfortunately, this seems unlikely, as offshore insurance companies continue to work with financial fraudsters in order to feather their own nests. One suggestion is that the British government should now include investments in its cold-calling ban as it’s the commonest way vulnerable people such as financial novices and retirees get sucked into this morass. Tackling online scams is also essential, but far more difficult given the global nature of websites and social media pages carrying scammers’ advertorials. As for expats, they’re most at risk when they first arrive in their new countries as they’re easy marks for those who at first seem helpful and friendly.
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