A growing number of private individuals are losing their bank savings as a result of investment fraud. Fraud Help Desk has drawn this conclusion amid a sharp increase in the number of reports about scams involving investment products.
Until September, there were sixty households that reported losing 3.9 million euros collectively due to fake investments. This compares to 34 victims reporting a total loss of 1.4 million euros in the whole of 2016.
The explanation for this significant increase lies in the low interest rate. Because people get no more than a dismal half a percent interest on their savings per year, they start looking for other ways to increase their capital. Unfortunately, clever con men are cashing in on this trend.
In reality, the number of people who fall for investment scams is probably far greater than the number of reports to Fraud Help Desk suggest. The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) and the police are also receiving reports.
The scammers often contact their victims by phone. A widely used method is to tempt someone first to buy lucrative foreign stocks for a relatively small amount, for example 1,000 euros. A few weeks later, the buyer will receive a message informing them that the investment has yielded a substantial profit.
The news, conjured up by the con men, will prompt the buyer to invest more and increasing amounts of money, which will go straight into the coffers of the investment scammers. The individual losses suffered by this year’s victims varies between 150 euros and 1.2 million euros.