The Insolvency Service has warned on investment scams targeted at older people and their carers, after 78 “rogue companies” collected £28m over the past three years.
The companies represented around 10% of companies wound up by the service between April 2009 and March 2012, with almost 2,000 victims.
Most of the companies involved land-banking schemes, where plots of land for building which did not exist or were on protected land, according to the Insolvency Service.
It claimed companies used “door-stepping” telephone tactics, refusing to hang up until a sale was made.
Robert Burns, head of investigation and enforcement for The Insolvency Service, says: “We have observed a number of companies targeting older people in recent months.
“These scams are particularly unpleasant because they target the most susceptible members of society, older people who may be unsure how to seek advice or afraid to say ‘no’.
“They can destroy lives at a time when those targeted should be taking a break from worry and enjoying life after working hard.”
He adds: “Victims are paying for something and getting nothing. The worst aspect is the callousness with which the fraudsters go about their business; ignoring the obvious fact that that because of their age, most victims will never be able to make good their loss.
“Not one of the land-banking companies we have investigated and wound up has seen a profit for the investor.”
As we always say; if it looks too good to be true…