The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a total of 2,286 warnings about possible scams in 2023.
The number of warnings issued last year marks an increase of 21% from 1,882 in 2022. The warnings are alerting consumers that firms and individuals on the FCA Warning List are operating without FCA authorisation.
The FCA strategy recognised investment fraud and authorised push payment (APP) fraud as two particular priorities, given their potential for life-changing harm to consumers.
In 2023 the rate of growth of investment fraud slowed significantly. In 2022, the number of victims grew by 28% and the amount of losses by 53%. By the end of 2023 this had reduced significantly, overall losses were down 40% with the number of investment fraud victims growing slightly, by 4.3%.
One of the biggest levers available in the fight against fraud, and wider financial crime, is prevention.
Alongside the Advertising Standards Agency, the FCA engaged social media influencers and their agents to give them clear information about what constitutes an illegal financial promotion.
The FCA has persuaded platforms such as Google, Bing and Meta to tackle illegal financial promotions and scam adverts. They now ban paid-for adverts for UK financial services that are not approved by an FCA authorised firm.
Since April 2022, the FCA has run six ScamSmart campaigns (covering investment fraud, loan fee fraud, and pension scams).
Alongside prevention, the regulator recognises the need for a strong enforcement response to maximise the deterrence impact of its fraud work. The FCA has taken robust action with firms and individuals who dishonestly abuse their regulated status.
Since April 2023, the FCA has charged 15 individuals with fraud offences, with more to be charged imminently.