Share Fraud and Boiler Room Scams

Investors should be vigilant to potential scams targeted at shareholders in Irish and other public companies.

How the share scams operate

These so called boiler room scamsare operated by fraudsters who contact investors unexpectedly and offer to buy their shares at prices which are higher than current market value. Investors may also be offered shares that often turn out to be worthless or non-existent. These unauthorised individuals and companies obtain investor information and contact details by accessing publicly available shareholder lists. While cold-calling by phone is the most common form of contact, they may also use email, post, face-to-face contact or approach investors at seminars.

These individuals often use high pressure sales tactics and tell investors that they need to make a quick decision or miss out on a deal which will give them a large return on their investment. The offer to purchase shares will likely come with a request for bank details or money up front as a bond or other form of security, which will be accompanied by a guarantee to pay back the money involved if the sale does not go ahead. This advance fee is part of the scam and investors are unlikely to hear from them again.

What to do if you are contacted

If you are in receipt of an unsolicited call from someone offering to buy your shares you should:

  • Take a note of the name of the person and organisation that has contacted you, including their contact information.
  • Not respond to high pressure tactics to provide bank details or arrange to transfer money if you are unsure of the nature of the caller.
  • Check if the company or individual is appropriately authorised to operate as an investment firm in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank), or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). View the list of investment firms authorised (i) by the Central Bank here and (ii) by the FCA here.
  • View the list of unauthorised firms that (i) the Central Bank has issued Warning Notices on and a form to report a suspected unauthorised firm here and (ii) the FCA has issued Warning Notices on here. Alternatively investors may contact the Central Bank on +353 (0)1 224 4000, or the FCA on 0800 111 6768/0300 500 8082 from the UK.
  • Obtain independent advice from a qualified advisor or stockbroker.
  • Report any unsolicited approaches in relation to your shares to CRH’s registrar, Link Asset Services.

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