Thousands of UK shareholders' details are listed on a database frequented by known fraudsters, the FSA has learned.
The catalogue, which has been passed to the regulator by Canadian authorities, is known in criminal circles as a 'suckers list' and has been sold to a number of share fraud gangs, it says.
It is contacting shareholders on the list to warn them to watch out for aggressive selling techniques, particularly over the phone, and is urging consumers to always verify a company's authenticity by checking the FSA register.
Share fraudsters, also known as boiler room fraudsters, are often based overseas and target investors illegally, offering them non-tradable, overpriced or even non-existent shares.
"This is a great example of how international co-operation can help protect people from falling victims to share fraud," FSA head of retail enforcement Jonathan Phelan says.
"The details on the database provide fraudsters with valuable information that can be used to convince people that they are dealing with legitimate stockbrokers, in order to win their trust.
"These criminals sound authentic, are smooth talkers and can be very persistent. If anyone calls you out of the blue offering to sell shares, just hang up or you stand to lose a lot of money with very little hope of ever getting it back."
For more information on protecting yourself against share scams and other financial crime, visit the FSA's consumer website, Moneymadeclear. Consumers can also report contact with suspected fraudsters by completing this form.
Contact: Scott Sinclair, News Editor, 020 7484 9791 - [email protected]IFAonline
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