COLUMN: How to spot the fakes – is it too good to be true?

stock business meeting - gathered around a table - discussion.
stock business meeting - gathered around a table - discussion.

I’ve had a letter offering me the opportunity to invest in fine wine. The returns look really good and I’m tempted, but my friend says not to trust a letter in case it’s a scam. How can I tell if it’s genuine?
Roger Naden gives his top tips on how to spot the genuine offers to the scams.

While there are lots of legitimate investments out there, your friend is right to warn you. Dreaded Letters and cold-calls from unknown companies can be a scam.

Investment opportunities can ask for large sums and you need to be completely confident before you put your money in.

First, do your research on the company. Investigate their website thoroughly and pay attention to where the company is registered. If it’s outside the UK, be on your guard - if it is a con, it will be difficult to get your money back. 
You could also look for industry bodies that oversee the sector to assist you with investment advice.

Next, check if the offer is realistic. Do some comparisons among similar companies for what the usual return is. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Finally, look out for high-pressure sales tactics. The literature may ask you to contact them by phone. If a salesperson puts pressure on you to complete the deal straight away, or tells you not to tell anyone about it, it could be a scam.

Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts offers free, confidential and independent advice on any subject and you can call in person or contact us by telephone.

Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts is based in Town Hall, in Bank Road, Matlock. It is open from Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. 
You can also call for advice on 0844 375 2712, weekdays from 9.30am to 4pm.