Governments and OECD must do more to tackle ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ boiler-room scams
The calls from Kevin White, deVere United Kingdom’s Head of Financial Planning, come after it is discovered another unregulated, unauthorised firm has tried to clone the legitimate, successful deVere brand and is attempting to sell fake investments to potential clients.
The problem of such scams has once again come into sharp focus as more than 100 fraudsters, who were living a life of luxury as portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the recent film The Wolf of Wall Street, were arrested last month in a four-country blitz.
Mr White comments: “The international boiler-room scams, similar to those run by Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Wolf of Wall Street, are sadly not a work of complete fiction. They are a hugely dangerous reality that can decimate the savings of hard-working people, potentially damage the reputations of fully authorised, regulated, legitimate companies, and lower confidence in the wider financial services sector.
“For these reasons, we believe that governments and other institutions, such as the OECD, should work more closely together and prioritise this serious issue as they have with the global problem of tax evasion.
“This is a growing international challenge that must be tackled head on. For example, just last week we had people call us from the UK, Austria and Bahrain amongst other places, reporting that they had been contacted by bogus ‘deVere’ employees.
“With calls to victims being made from overseas, and with monies being routed through bank accounts of other countries, it requires a determined effort from various authorities worldwide to stamp out these scams.”
Colm Donnelly, deVere United Kingdom’s Head of Compliance, explains what victims should do if they suspect they have been duped: “We advise all of the people who contact us to document every telephone call and retain all paperwork and never tip the perpetrators off. Then you need to report it to the local constabulary and more importantly Action Fraud who will help guide you.
“Unfortunately for us, we are usually contacted after the event but if you are in any doubt please do not hesitate to contact us. Look out for investments that look too good to be true, bank accounts to send money to in different names to either of the companies that are being presented and bank accounts that are overseas. Also, neither deVere United Kingdom or deVere Group handle client money so do not send anything to an account in these names.”
deVere United Kingdom also fell victim to an elaborate cloning scam last year, in which a number of unregulated, unauthorised firms used the ‘deVere’ name to attempt to con people out of their savings.
Of the cloning attempts, deVere director, Mike Coady, says: “These swindlers went to great lengths to impersonate our well-respected global brand, and even went as far as making business cards and other company stationery to look identical to ours as well as using the same names of senior deVere team members. It seems these criminals will go to any lengths to get what they want. We’ve been working hard to protect people against these fraudsters, and launched a number of awareness campaigns over the past few months.”
deVere Group CEO, Nigel Green was interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live in May last year, amongst many other media outlets, to warn people of the dangers of clone scams and how they can protect themselves.