Police are warning the public to be aware of a national scam involving investment in “rare earth metals”.
The scam involves fraudsters’ cold calling potential victims to persuade them into investing substantial amounts of money in “rare earth metal oxides”.
The caller claims rare earth metals are ‘the new big thing‘ in alternative investments and insist that high demand for the metals in the manufacture of many goods will lead to very attractive returns.
The fraud is being highlighted by Devon and Cornwall Police after five people have recently fallen victim in the area. Nationally the fraud totals millions of pounds.
Detective Sergeant Mark Newnham commented, “The extent of this scam is huge and anyone could become a victim of persistent fraudsters.
“Although there are bone fide companies who deal legitimately in metal investments this particular fraud involves investment in very poor valued or worthless commodities. Genuine companies do not ‘cold call’ and use intimidating and persuasive tactics and I would urge anyone who is contacted out of the blue regarding such investments to think very carefully. Do not agree to invest on a whim without making basic checks into the company”.
Elderly targeted by telephone
Police say the victims tend to be elderly and contact is usually made by telephone and following pressurised selling, considerable amounts of personal savings are deposited into seemingly bone fide company bank accounts in the hope of a future substantial return, which never materialises.
Follow our simple advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of an investment scam such as this this one.
Read more about the fraud on the Devon and Cornwall Police website.
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To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.