We’ve recently become aware of several websites for fake companies imitating our brands, offering bonds and other investments with attractive high rates of return. Investing in any of their products will mean that you will not have any protection and will most likely lose your investment.

At times where rates of return are very low these offers can appear tempting, so remember: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Once you have made contact, they will then appear to be legitimate by asking for identification in line with anti-money laundering requirements – which opens up the risk of having your identity stolen.

Our businesses work with law enforcement and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to remove sites and close down criminal operations – but it’s worth remembering that many criminals are capable of setting up new domains very quickly.

How to spot a fake website

Some common things to look out for are:

  • limited information on a website beyond the homepage
  • broken links to other parts of the site
  • poor spelling and grammar
  • promises of rates of return that are beyond the market average

It’s also worth remembering that these sites can be reached through searching online, as well as directly. The criminals behind the fake websites pay for adverts on Google and other search engines, and we have also had reports of fake comparison websites being set up to hook people in.

How you can stay safe online

We have established processes and measures in place to manage activities like this and protect our clients, customers and shareholders. If you have any concerns, find out more about what you can do to stay safe online.