Attack of the Clone Firms: do you know whether the business you’re investing in is real?

The FCA has issued a warning* about fake firms, which are fraudulently set up to con investors out of large sums of money.

These so-called “clone firms” have the same name, address, and FSA registration number as their real counterparts. As a result, some people have sent money to scammers even when they are usually confident in their ability to spot a hoax.

The FCA is advising anyone considering an investment opportunity to check their Warning List of firms, found at:, which is updated daily - and not to deal with a firm that is not authorised by the FCA.

The FCA warns that just checking a company’s Firm Reference Number is not sufficient for avoiding a scam.

Indeed, consumers have reported average losses in excess of £45,000 each, making it well worth a few minutes to review the FCA’s warning list.

These scams serve as a reminder to us all to not take business communications at face value. Always question whether messages are coming from an address you can trust, and never pass over personal information unless you are absolutely certain of their legitimacy.

This particular example highlights the fact that even those of us who claim to be scam savvy can fall victim to well-disguised criminals.

Fraudsters targeting investors are especially diligent in making their attempts convincing as they know financial professionals will be wise to simple tricks.

If you would like professional support with protecting your funds or your organisation from online criminals, please email Made up of the police, online security experts and ethical hackers, we have the experience and knowledge to strengthen your protection.