Horse racing enthusiasts in the UK are being warned of the dangers of investment scams after complaints were made to an anti-fraud body.
Action Fraud said it has received 20 complaints of investment fraud relating to horse racing since June with a total loss of £11,350 (€12,580).
The scams involve claiming to use software for placing horse racing bets on the victim’s behalf.
But once payment has been made to the fraudsters, methods to contact them are often closed down – and the victim does not hear from the fraudsters again.
Action Fraud – the UK’s national fraud reporting centre – has also noticed the re-emergence of other investment frauds where someone is encouraged to invest in ownership of a race horse.
People tend to be contacted about these non-existent opportunities by post.
Similarly with these frauds, after the fraudsters have received payments, the victim finds they are no longer able to get in contact with the company.
To protect themselves from investment fraud, Action Fraud said consumers should consult guidance from regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and be cautious before parting with any money.
It said people should always check that the details of the organisation or company are correct – as fraudsters may be masquerading as a legitimate organisation, by using professional-looking brochures for example.
If someone is in doubt when receiving a cold call, they should just hang up, Action Fraud said. It said people should consider seeking independent legal and/or financial advice before making an investment.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, of the City of London Police, which runs Action Fraud, said: “With such large amounts of money involved, investment fraud in the horse racing community can leave people without a horse and having experienced a significant financial loss.
“We are urging people to thoroughly check the details of organisations they are dealing with and consider seeking independent advice before going ahead with an investment.”
People who believe they have fallen victim to fraud or cyber crime can report it to Action Fraud.