Pirates do exist and they're targeting you over the phone

Max A's picture

Last night I had a call from a company called Research Capital. The gentleman on the end of the line sounded very official and plausible.
He wanted me to confirm my name and address, and asked if I was the homeowner. When I asked him why he wanted to know, he said he wanted to send me a newsletter.
I wasn’t in the mood for the call and was deeply suspicious so I asked him what country he was calling from. He replied Grenada, which I suspected anyway as he had a thick Caribbean accent.
I asked him to confirm his company name, address and telephone number, but he said all that would be on the newsletter. I said I would prefer to know a little more about his company before engaging in any kind of dialogue, so again I insisted on him giving me his website address, his telephone number and contacts... needless to say he wouldn’t.
I asked him if he was registered with the FSA and what his registration number was, but he fudged it by saying “that will be covered in the newsletter".
By this time I was really narked off with the call as it was my daughter's bathtime, so I said I'd heard that there were companies in the Caribbean professing to be genuine investment companies, and falsely registered with the FSA in the UK, that were in fact trading fraudulently and conning unsuspecting members of the British public out of money  – was his company one of those?
He rang off.
Though I was clearly unable to investigate the offer sufficiently to find out if it was genuine, I strongly suspect that it was a scam.

These 'companies' call at the most inconvenient times - having somehow managed to obtain information about you in advance of their calls - and are ripping innocent people off with scam financial investments.
Anyway, it looks like the Isla de Muerta, Tortuga and the Pirates of the Caribbean do exist - except it’s not the ‘Black Pearl’ they use to plunder their unsuspecting prey but the telephone and internet.

Your Comments

Thanks for this blog Max - it might be worth you taking a look at one of our forum threads on a boiler room scam, Seisma Oil Research.

You can also look up companies that contact you to see if they are on the FSA's warning list of unauthorised overseas firms operating in the UK.

If other readers have been contacted over the phone or internet by a simlar type of company, then do share your experiences and views below.

Rebecca Atkinson is the editor of Moneywise.co.uk

I just checked my Yahoo email account and was amused (and alarmed) to see an email purporting to be from the Office Of The Prime Minister. It read as follows:

I am The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP,Prime Minister British Government. This letter is to officially inform you that (ATM Card Number 0480001017550) has been accredited in your favor. The VISA Card Value is $6.8,000,000.00
"This office will send to you an Visa/ATM CARD that you will use to withdraw your funds in any ATM MACHINE CENTER or Visa card outlet in the world with a maximum of $5000 USD daily.Further more,You will be required to re-confirm the following information to enable;The Rt Hon David Miliband MP Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office. begin in processing of your VISA CARD.

(1)Full names: (2)Address: (3)Country:(4)Nationality: (5)Phone #:
(6)Age:(7)Occupation: (8) Post Codes

Forward Reply To: Agent Henry Owen
Email           : uk.atm@w.cn


TAKE NOTICE: That you are warned to stop further communications with any other person(s) or office(s) different from the staff of the State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to avoid hitches in receiving your payment.

Nasty stuff. I just hope that no one falls for this scam.

Rebecca Atkinson is the editor of Moneywise.co.uk

My mum received one of these type of calls just the other day. The bloke on the phone asked to speak to Jim, mum replied there was no Jim here, he then asked for her address so he could "update their database". Thankfully my mum is not dumb and tried to push him on who he was, who he was representing but he just kept refusing to say, just repeating his request for address details. Mum eventually hung up.

She said he took a moment to start talking after she picked up and could hear other people being spoken to in the background so was obviously a call centre.

To me this is all the more reason why the government/OfCom should take serious action to clampdown on unsolicited calls (though Ofcom are about as much use as a chocolate fireguard), scam calls are getting far too common.

I thought all this information was readily available from the Council, in the form of a disc, as a result of details on the Voters Register! At a small cost.

I have lost £30,000 thanks to a Boiler Room scam. The Company name is Milestone Management. I had no idea this was a scam as the man who contacted me was extremely well trained and friendly. I cashed in all my assets to buy bonds and shares which turned out to be worthless. Worst of all, I increased my mortgage by £10,000 and can no longer afford to save any money each month. My son's inheritance is lost, along with my retirement fund. I had intended to repay my debts with the proceeds from the sale of my shares but now I am deeper in debt than ever. Amazingly, the police managed to locate someone who has handled the paperwork sent to me ( from his fingerprints), but he has since left the UK. It seems highly unlikely that my money will ever be recovered and I have no means of replacing it.

Hello "I have lost £30,000 thanks to a boiler room scam",

We are interested to hear more from you about your experience as a victim of a boiler room scam as we are hoping to do an article raising further awareness of the problem.

If you would like to speak to us. Please contact me on esther.armstrong@moneywise.co.uk.

Related articles