Scam Watch: Beware the LinkedIn scam
Aberdeen Asset Management is warning people to look out for emails from fraudsters purporting to be from the company.
The investment management group, which manages £193 billion worth of institutional and private investors' money, is currently Moneywise's investment trust group of the year.
Its alert warns that it has become aware of an individual offering "false lease agreements" through email using the name and old logo of Aberdeen Asset Management.
The individual is also using a profile on Linkedin, which suggests he is an Aberdeen Asset Management member of staff to lend credibility to his approach.
But the firm states: "Aberdeen does not offer such agreements and will never contact the public in this way to offer such.
"Although our staff will use Linkedin for networking purposes they never make contact with prospective clients or offer unsolicited business proposals via the site."
It says if you are in any doubt as to the veracity of a person purporting to work for Aberdeen, do not offer any personal information. Instead, you should contact its investor services centre listed on its website at aberdeen-asset.co.uk.
The firm has also warned about cold callers, again purporting to be from Aberdeen, offering people investment in company shares. The callers do not work for Aberdeen and any third party making such offers has no link with the company.
Action Fraud says these could be boiler room scams, where a payment from you is required to release the supposed payment for your shares; or they could be a simple attempt to gain your personal information with which to commit identity fraud.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use its online fraud reporting tool at actionfraud.police.uk.
Investment trusts are companies that invest money in other companies and whose shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange. As with unit trusts, private investors buying shares in an investment trust are buying into a diversified portfolio of assets (to reduce risk), which is managed by a professional fund manager. Investment trusts differ from unit trusts in two important ways: they are listed on the stockmarket and so are owned by their shareholders and are closed-ended funds with a finite number of shares in issue. This means the share price of investment trusts might not reflect the true value of the assets in the company (known as the net asset value, or NAV) and if the NAV value of a share is £1 and the share price in the market is 90p, the trust is said to be running a discount of 10% to NAV. But this means the investor is paying 90p to gain exposure to £1 of assets. Investment trusts can also borrow money and use this money to buy investments. This is known as gearing and a geared trust is thought to be more of an investment risk than an ungeared one.
This is an umbrella term for an organisation, usually unlicensed by the financial authorities, which uses forceful, persistent and highly aggressive telephone sales techniques to sell unlisted or non-existent securities to private investors. In the majority of cases, the shares being sold are worthless and the boiler room vanishes, leaving the investor out of pocket. Although they boast impressive UK addresses, the firms operate from boiler room “hotspots”, such as Spain, Switzerland, Dubai, Japan, Bermuda or the US, so they are outside the remit of the Financial Services Authority.