We would like to alert all shareholders in Octopus managed VCTs to the misuse of the Octopus name by third parties who claim to be connected to Octopus or our VCTs in some way.
We have been made aware of cases where shareholders have been contacted by:
- Someone selling shares in companies which have little or no value, or may not even exist.
- Someone offering to buy their shares at a higher price than their market value.
These types of scams are targeted at existing shareholders and will sound like attractive offers. The caller will often ask an investor to pay something upfront, such as a bond or other form of security which they claim the investor will get back if the sale doesn’t go through. They may also ask them to sign a form preventing them from disclosing details of the offer.
These are fraudulent scams and are in no way connected with Octopus or our VCTs. We will never cold call to obtain shares that an investor owns, or to sell investments. If you are concerned about a call, letter or email you or one of your clients receive, which you believe to be suspicious, please call our customer service team on 0800 316 2295.
Where do they obtain investors’ details?
Octopus will never pass details of its investors on to a third party without their permission. Unfortunately these scam companies take details from the VCT shareholder registers which are public documents kept by all companies, including VCTs.
Home telephone numbers are obtained from lists of telephone numbers that are for sale via the Internet.
Your rights to compensation
In many cases these share scam companies are based overseas, although some may provide details of a UK postal address and telephone number. What this means is that investors may have no right to complain or claim compensation since these companies are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
What should you do?
If a client receives an unexpected call offering to acquire their shares, or sell them shares, particularly using high pressure tactics, they should simply hang up the telephone. You may wish to check that anyone offering to sell them shares is registered with the FCA, but cold calls from companies offering to sell shares are unlawful and should be reported to the FCA or the police.
If you have any questions about Octopus products or these share scams, please feel free to contact us on 0800 316 2067. More information is available from the Financial Conduct Authority.