Action Fraud is warning horse racing enthusiasts following reports of investment fraud cases in the equestrian community.
Action Fraud has received 20 complaints of investment fraud relating to horse racing since June with a total loss of Â£11,350. The suspects claim to use software for placing horse racing bets on the victimâ€™s behalf. However, once payment has been made to the fraudsters, often methods to contact them are closed down and the victim does not hear from the fraudsters again.
Action Fraud has also noticed the re-emergence of other investment frauds where an individual is encouraged to invest in ownership of a race horse. People are contacted about these non-existent opportunities primarily by post; however, after the fraudsters have received payments, the individual finds they are no longer able to get in contact with the company.
Protect yourself from investment fraud:
Investment into a racing horse as part of a syndicate may in some instances fall within a collective investment scheme and therefore may be subject to FCA regulation. Consumers are advised to consult the FCA guidance.
Betting syndicates do not require a licence from the Gambling Commission or British Horseracing Authority, therefore caution should be exercised before parting with any money.
Always check that the details of the organisation or company contacting you (such as website, address and phone number) are correct â€“ the fraudsters may be masquerading as a legitimate organisation.
Never respond to unsolicited phone calls â€“ if in doubt, hang up.
Donâ€™t be fooled by a professional looking website (or brochure) as the cost of creating a professional website is easily affordable and can be set up by fraudsters.
Consider seeking independent legal and/or financial advice before making an investment.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe of the City of London Police said: â€œWith such large amounts of money involved, investment fraud in the horse racing community can leave people without a horse and having experienced a significant financial loss.
â€œWe are urging people to thoroughly check the details of organisations they are dealing with and consider seeking independent advice before going ahead with an investment.â€
If you believe you have fallen victim to fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk