Police day of action after victims report losing over £59m to Binary Options fraud

  • 2, 065 people have reported being a victim of Binary Options fraud to Action Fraud since 2012.
  • Victims have reported to have lost £59,424,178.
  • The average person loses £22,811.
  • Police and Trading Standards visited offices in the City to speak with businesses to help build an intelligence picture around Binary Options and other types of investment fraud

Growing Problem

Action Fraud reports show that Binary Options fraud is a growing problem. In just the first half of 2017, 697 people reported to have lost over £18 million. The day of action used Operation Broadway tactics, mostly visiting businesses occupying serviced offices and reviewing their compliance documents.

The City of London Police conducted a day of action and visited 20 offices with the City of London Corporation’s Trading Standards, on Tuesday (17 October 2017). Assisted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)and the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) they were able to help gather intelligence on different types of investment fraud and in particular Binary Options fraud.

The day brought some interesting results with one team discovering a business that had paid over three month’s rent upfront to the serviced office provider and then had disappeared. Work will now take place to establish information about this company and investigate whether it was possibly a boiler room.

Operation Broadway

In 2014 the City of London Police, City of London Corporation Trading Standards, Metropolitan Police, National Trading Standards ‘Scambusters’ Team, HMRC and the FCA, launched Operation Broadway, a London-wide intelligence-led drive to uncover and disrupt suspected ‘boiler room’ investment frauds operating out of some of the capital’s most iconic buildings in the heart of the UK's main financial districts.

Operation Broadway teams have conducted inspections and disruption raids at over 100 offices in the City and Canary Wharf since its launch. Police and trading standards staff believe this has created a hostile environment for fraudsters.

Over the next six months an intelligence picture will be developed using the information gathered from the day of action to ensure that investment fraudsters are prevented from operating in the City of London.

With an average loss of over £22,000 those who fall victim to Binary Options fraud are significantly affected. It is important that all victims report to Action Fraud to ensure that the extent of the problem can be fully understood and action can be taken to tackle it.

Over the next week, the City of London Police with its partners will be raising awareness of investment fraud through its social media channels using the hashtag #BeatTheBoilerRooms.

City of London Police’s Chief Superintendent Glenn Maleary, Head of the Economic Crime Directorate, said:

“This multi-agency operation, allowed us speak with multiple businesses and gather significant intelligence around various investments currently being traded in the City.

“With our partners we want to ensure the City is a hostile environment for fraudsters to operate in and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that this is the case.

“Throughout this year we have been raising awareness of Binary Options fraud and over the coming days we will be providing more advice on how people can beat the boiler rooms and protect themselves from all types of investment fraud.”

Steve Playle, Trading Standards Manager for the City of London Corporation, said:

“Trading Standards is a key player in the clampdown on fraudsters. Working closely with our partners, we are deterring investment scammers who use City addresses to create an illusion of respectability that plays an important part in persuading people to part with their money.

“This day of action is raising public awareness so that we can all do our bit and report those that we think are involved in this miserable practice.”

Notes to Editors:

Protect yourself against Binary Options fraud

  • If you’re considering any type of investment, always remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • If you get a call out of the blue from someone offering investment opportunities, reject the offer; if in doubt don’t be polite, just hang up.
  • If in doubt, where you think a firm offering binary options may not be trustworthy or legitimate, do not transfer money to them or provide them with your bank details.
  • Be mindful of any bonus structures and clauses preventing you from withdrawing funds.
  • Make sure you have read and considered conditions set out by the company making it mandatory to “turn over” your original deposit over a multiple amount of times before you can withdraw your money.
  • The Gambling Commission advises that UK consumers should research the market carefully before participating in such activities.
  • Check whether a company holds an operating license from the Gambling Commission by searching the public register of licensees.

Binary Options fraud reports to Action Fraud