Warning to consumers
Fraudsters are using the details of FCA authorised firms to try and convince consumers that they work for a genuine, authorised firms. These fraudulent firms are known as “clone firms”.
Fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people unexpectedly, so you should be especially wary if you have been ‘cold called’ or if you are contacted upon expressing interest in a Close Brothers product on a third-party website. They may use the name of genuine Close Brothers Group companies, including the 'firm reference number' (FRN) issued by the FCA or other details.
An example of clone firm details which fraudsters are using or providing as part of their tactics to defraud people can be viewed at www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/close-brothers-limited-clone-fca-authorised-firm
If you are offered specialist deposit products, discounted lending solutions, unsolicited investment advice or free company or research reports, you should take these steps before handing over any money:
- Get the name of the person and organisation contacting you
- Check the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk to ensure they are authorised
- Use the details on the FCA Register to contact the firm
- Call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 if there are no contact details on the Register or you are told they are out of date
- Search the FCA list of unauthorised firms and individuals to avoid doing business with at www.fca.org.uk/consumers/scams
- Check the products and services available at Close Brothers by visiting https://www.closebrothers.com/contact-us
- Verify Close Brothers’ websites and contact details by visiting https://www.closebrothers.com/contact-us
- Read about Take Five, a national campaign to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud at https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/
If you use an unauthorised firm to provide or receive access to financial products and services, you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong
REMEMBER: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Report a scam
If you are approached about a scam or you believe that you are a victim of fraud, you should tell the FCA using the fraud reporting form at www.fca.org.uk/consumers/report-scam-unauthorised-firm, where you can find out about the latest scams. You can also call the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.
If you have already paid money to fraudsters you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
You may also wish to inform Close Brothers’ Compliance Department:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3857 6000