An investigation has been launched after both current and former Tata Steel employees were targeted by suspected fraudsters running a share selling scam.
The force has received a number of reports people have been approached by a number of companies based in the United States, offering to buys shares for far more than their market value.
DC Kevin Searby said: “In most cases, contact begins via the phone and the offenders then build up a relationship with the victim over a period of days or even weeks, during which the offenders say they are searching for any bonus shares held by the victim.
“Over this time, they begin to collect personal details such as the victim’s address and email address, before informing them they own shares, which the firm is willing to pay between £8 and £18 each for.
“The firm then sends the victim a non-disclosure form to sign, which prevents them from discussing the deal with any third party. They claim the reason for this is to prevent Tata from finding out about the sale of the shares, to prevent them raising the price.
“In reality it is designed to obtain the victim’s signature and to stop the victim seeking advice.”
“Once the form is returned, the offenders contact the victim again telling them they wish to go ahead with the sale, but in order to proceed they require an insurance bond equating to around 10 per cent of their value – which will be returned to the victim once the sale is completed.
“However, this is a scam designed to get the victim to hand over cash and their financial details.”
There are steps you can take to protect yourself from scams of this kind:
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone.
- Beware of any email asking you to verify your details by clicking a link. Banks and financial institutions will not ask you to do this. Similarly, if you receive an email asking you to verify your details by phone, don’t use the number on the email – find some genuine correspondence or look up the number on the website.
- Destroy receipts with your card details on them and any post with your name and address on it, to prevent your identity being cloned.
- Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti virus software installed.
- When shopping online, use Verified by Visa or Mastercard Secure Code to give you additional peace of mind.
If you believe you have been targeted by a scam – whether you have been taken in or not – please report it to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040.