The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the general public how to spot land banking fraud. [4 March 2011]
Land banking fraud is where investors are led to believe they are investing in land that will significantly increase in value through:
In reality investors are sold land which:
Like many investment frauds – such as boiler room fraud - the sale often takes place through high-pressured telephone calls, although it can also be through mail shot, brochure distribution or websites.
Hundreds of people have already reported this fraud, but the total number of victims is likely to run into thousands.
The NFIB is currently undergoing an assessment of all intelligence held in relation to land banking frauds. Initial research suggests there are commonalities between business representatives, company contact details and modus operandi. It is also assisting detectives with a number of ongoing land banking fraud investigations. Recent NFIB intelligence led to a City of London Police investigation into Browne & Mackenzie. Detectives have now made four arrests and identfied 90 victims with losses running to £3 million.
The NFIB advises members of the public not to respond to investment opportunities through cold-callers. It also advises people to question how they are being offered such high returns – if it seems to good to be true then it often is. Anyone thinking of going ahead and investing should first:
For more information on land banking fraud, visit the NFIB's website.
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To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.