The UK arm of one of the world’s largest financial advice services said an “alarming” number of people have been contacted by an unregulated and unauthorised imitation of its brand.
DeVere UK head of financial planning Kevin White said: “It has become clear that scammers are using the identity of deVere United Kingdom to dupe unsuspecting people into investing large amounts of their life savings based on their so-called ‘advice’, often using aggressive sales tactics.
He said the fraudsters are going to extraordinary lengths to convince consumers: “They are adopting a company name and address which could easily be mistaken for our legitimate ones, they are designing websites, stationery, and business cards to appear like our legitimate ones, and some are even going as far as impersonating our legitimate advisers.”
This type of scam is becoming increasingly common, he added, and could be highly damaging to the reputation of the financial advice sector.
He said: “These clone scams could also undermine confidence in the wider financial advisory industry, which could discourage people from seeking the important financial advice they need to reach their long-term financial objectives.”
In May, the FCA warned against the clone firm DeVere & Partners UK Limited/DeVere Ltd. The real firm trades under the name deVere and Partners (UK) Limited.