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Scammed Twice!
Law Man
Posted: 02 April 2017 11:08:11(UTC)
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Alan Selwood: re yours 31/03/2017:

"In the little backwater where I live, we are trying to set up a group of people who can help and educate everyone in the area into ways of avoiding the scammers and conmen."

Can you please explain, briefly, how you organized this, and with what effect. In particular, what is the forum to attract interest, and how do you publicize it.

There must be many people, like me, who are not investment professionals but who have learned by experience; and who have the time and inclination to give back to society.

A specific, but peripheral aspect, is that we should not give advice, nor be exposed to liability claims. Sometimes we are punished for our kindnesses.
lynne shaffer
Posted: 02 April 2017 12:00:18(UTC)
#25

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I actually wrote on a Citywire thread about the fact that i invested £70,000 and after 10 years, its value was £200-Yes £200!!

I wrote to teh FCA and after several months of answering their questions using no lawyers and only a layman's knowledge, I was awarded £120,000 in compensation.

So, it's always worth trying to appeal against what's happened to you.
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Mickey on 02/04/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 02 April 2017 13:34:39(UTC)
#27

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I totally agree Jeffian. There are sharks in every pond!
xcity
Posted: 02 April 2017 13:43:01(UTC)
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jeffian;45373 wrote:
it is not just "scammers and conmen"; we all need to do what we can for elderly friends and relatives to ensure that they are not also being exploited by those who should know better.

Agree completely.
Even intelligent consumers can be sucked in by scammers, but vulnerable people can be taken advantage of by all and sundry, including some with qualifications and duties of care.

And vulnerability isn't just about dementia. It can happen to any of us at any time - illness, trauma, being overstretched by life events etc. - or having to make decisions in areas where we have little knowledge and no time to acquire it.
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 02 April 2017 13:44:06(UTC)
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lynne shaffer;45379 wrote:
I actually wrote on a Citywire thread about the fact that i invested £70,000 and after 10 years, its value was £200-Yes £200!!

I wrote to the FCA and after several months of answering their questions using no lawyers and only a layman's knowledge, I was awarded £120,000 in compensation.

So, it's always worth trying to appeal against what's happened to you.


Lynne,

Wow. A lucky result for you as it happened. Great going!

I did write to the FCA. The issue I (and hundreds of others) face is - and this is what they said to me - that because the firm of advisers were not actually regulated to give "investment advice" in the first place, I could not have access to the compensation scheme.

If I had been given advice to invest from a regulated adviser OR if I had invested in regulated funds (scammers use unregulated funds that pay huge introduction fees!) then I would be covered by the compensation scheme. This is the issue. The very system designed to protect you, abandons you.

But thanks for sharing. The more the topic gets discussed, the more it gets into the public consciousness.
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lynne shaffer on 03/04/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 02 April 2017 14:06:02(UTC)
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xcity;45382 wrote:
jeffian;45373 wrote:
it is not just "scammers and conmen"; we all need to do what we can for elderly friends and relatives to ensure that they are not also being exploited by those who should know better.
... or having to make decisions in areas where we have little knowledge and no time to acquire it.


I agree. It has taken me the last 12 months to understand in detail how the scam worked. Scammers obfuscate the process.

I actually believed (and still do) the trustees were not intentionally facilitating a scam but they themselves were duped by the perpetrators. The experts in this were the unlicensed firm of advisers. They had a firm, based in Manchester, that did cold calling recruiting of "the vulnerable"; they also had the unregulated funds to move the money into. I did complain to the FCA about this cold calling firm and they appear to have disappeared. Doesn't help the victims though.

The trustees, imho, made a stupid business decision. They were supposed to be experts in the field but still fell foul of the confidence tricksters!

The issue is the trustees took on approximately 100 new members per month during 2015 and my guess is these were sourced by the unlicensed firm of advisers and their pensions funneled into unregulated toxic funds.

These people will not realise the risk to their pensions until it has either been depleted to next to nothing, or the fund collapses and its assets deemed worthless.

Then, enter the ambulance chaser! Offering legal services to recover your money! Trust me, unless it is cost effective to them, you don't get anywhere near "legal services". You get conned for a second time. Then when you discover it, you get ignored and they behave just like the scammers! It is abhorrent; they take your last penny while you are already down, deliver zero. How low can it get? It's just the most evil thing I have ever seen. No honour whatsoever.

Stephen Sefton
Posted: 03 April 2017 05:38:05(UTC)
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jeffian;45373 wrote:
Stephen,
I was a contributor to another financial forum which gave my (and others') name and address to a company ... who sent solicitors letters to ... I was sufficiently incensed and had the resources to take proper legal advice and the upshot was that a killer defence to these threats is to claim "justification" - that is that a person cannot be 'damaged' by anything you say about him/her if you can show it to be true, which rather sounds like what you are saying.

On a wider, issue, I am interested in Alan's self-help group,...


Those that remember last year will remember the forum went down for 2-3 weeks. That was my fault and was linked to the issuing of the lawyer's letters to me and citywire. I can't go into the details because citywire told me not to (free speech has boundaries even here), but it isn't dissimilar to the scenario you describe.

I too am interested in Alan's self help group but would like to reach a much wider audience and that is the difficult part. Reaching those that need advice is extremely difficult. This forum does actually have a high google page rank and so does appear quite high on a google search. The problem is, anyone using the keywords I had in last years thread can no longer reach the thread because it got taken down! So those that need the advice are barred from seeing it.

I would also like to name and shame the ambulance chaser(s) but I fear it would just result in another immature bun fight because they don't behave as adults towards me anymore. They are behaving very much like the scammers.

It's a strange old world. The bad guys seem to get away with all sorts of things.

jeffian
Posted: 03 April 2017 08:56:42(UTC)
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"I too am interested in Alan's self help group but would like to reach a much wider audience and that is the difficult part. Reaching those that need advice is extremely difficult."

Indeed, Stephen, and where Alan's idea is invaluable is in reaching those who don't actually recognise they need advice and help and, therefore, are unlikely to do the searches you suggest. My mother rather enjoyed the weekly calls from the broker selling her spivvy AIM penny stocks. She thought he was a 'nice man', as she did the building society manager who inappropriately sold her 5 x £50k managed bonds. A friend whose father was convinced he was a share dealing genius had to change his father's telephone number without his knowledge to stop the daily sales pitches from a number of brokers and another friend only found out by chance that her mother was withdrawing £5000 bundles of cash and handing it to a courier who came to her house because her mother was abiding by instructions to keep it secret as she was "helping to uncover a fraud at the bank". To this day none of those people ever thought they were being scammed and wouldn't have sought help anyway.
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Guest on 15/05/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 03 April 2017 09:55:02(UTC)
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jeffian;45402 wrote:
... where Alan's idea is invaluable is in reaching those who don't actually recognise they need advice and help and, therefore, are unlikely to do the searches you suggest...


Spot on.
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 05 April 2017 08:06:19(UTC)
#30

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Anyone reading this thread and believing they might have been scammed can pm me (I think this forum has a pm facility - never used it I have to say).

I can give you much more specific info, in particular who to avoid and how I managed to get 92% of my money back - and negotiating more. I can't give details here because lawyers jump out of the wallpaper when I do that.

But no one knows what I am saying in private!

Alan Selwood
Posted: 07 April 2017 07:52:40(UTC)
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Sorry that I haven't responded to comments and requests in the last few days about community support for those who risk being scammed (or who have been). I've had a very busy few days.

I hope to be able to say more soon. If not, keep the point alive and prod me!
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 08 April 2017 15:59:00(UTC)
#32

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Next week I am hoping my final 8% is settled. The various parties have said they will get back to me on Monday, with an update on progress at getting back the final 8% of my pension fund, having given them a little intel.

In fact those that took my pension in the first place are behaving more maturely than the wicked witch of the west and sidekick, that invited me (at significant cost I might add) to join some mythical class action!

When challenged for an update on the progress of the class action, everything went quiet! No status. Nothing. Probably enjoying Sangria and sunshine at my expense.

I don't believe there ever was legal representation; never was a plan to recover my losses by legal action; just amateurish blogs, hysterical emails and a stupid film script I wanted no part in!

I'll update y'all.
Alan Selwood
Posted: 08 April 2017 22:18:46(UTC)
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If it also works out on the last 8%, we shall all be very pleased for you.
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 10 April 2017 04:35:50(UTC)
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Some advice for anyone reading this that is considering joining the class action group to recover their losses. [There is one other from the scam I was in that has spoken to the class action group. Think before you join! You're about to get ripped off for a second time].

However persuasive the invitation to join, remember this, it's a business not a charity!

It was claimed there are "backers" that are covering the legal costs but in return, they take 30% from the money they recover. And this is pretty much the same from other legal outfits I spoke with. But (and there's always a but) it's a business - never lose sight of that! Therefore, like any business they aren't going to take on a case that's likely to lose them money! That's the fundamental tenet of a business.

So unless 30% of the figure likely to be recovered is estimated to be greater than the legal cost to recover it, you're not going to be taken on and I was declined by a number of law firms on the basis the residual amount I have left to recover is not great (c. £30k).

The issue with this class action invitation is, this was not said. In fact it was sold as "we're nothing like the no win no fee outfits"! But it is still a business from the backers point of view - not a charity. It is every bit like the nwnf outfits.

It only makes sense for the class action to take on either a) those with a very large sum to recover or b) lots of victims so the total becomes worth the effort.

I was the only victim of this particular scam at the time; but I recovered c.90% by redeeming the investments and negotiating the return of admin fees and exit penalties. What's left just isn't worth litigation. 30% of not much, is even less!

So if you're being invited to join a class action -- don't unless you are either recovering a huge amount or there's more than one of you!

I was tricked into believing there were lawyers looking at my case. What in reality was happening was we were "waiting" for "others" to come forward as victims, or for the toxic funds to fail and then there is a worthwhile population to consider legal action.

The class action works best (from the backer's point of view) when a fund fails. It doesn't work if you realise you're in a scam before the funds fail and have a reasonable chance of recovering most of your money by redemption plus effort on the part of the trustees to negotiate the refunding everyone's commission charges.

I learned this the hard way. You don't have to.

I was tricked - you could say scammed a second time! Don't you fall for the same trick! Finding "honest" people is very hard to do and anyone offering to recover your money, by legal action, for what seems like a small fee is lying to you and ripping you off! And when you suggest a refund - they clam up just like all the scammers they purport to despise! They behave in exactly the same way! They are as deplorable as all the rest.
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Alan Selwood on 10/04/2017(UTC), xcity on 08/05/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 08 May 2017 10:18:11(UTC)
#35

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So far ... recovering my pension has cost me £4,800 and I have done all the hard work!!

I paid £1800 to the first IFA (who then, as it happened, couldn't continue on account of getting himself arrested - sic!)

I paid £1500 to another adviser who turned out unwilling to let me have a UFPLS for home improvements and I when I wasn't happy with the advice decided he couldn't work with me but still took the money!

I paid £1500 to the wicked witch of the west on the lie I was joining a Class Action that never materialised.

Anyway I have been promised by the lawyer of the firm that took my pension they will make a proposal later today wrt the final 8%.

However, my experience to date is - Everyone lies and wants a share of my pension! I just want to tell them to get a proper job - you blood sucking parasites!

... you just couldn't make this up!
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xcity on 08/05/2017(UTC)
andy mac
Posted: 08 May 2017 10:33:12(UTC)
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Stephen you are correct there are plenty of people out there trying to get your money
You at least seem to have recovered most
But what about the unwary?
Perhaps you can interest someone like the newspapers or watchdog tv show on
The scam itself
The lack of concern from the watchdogs
How you got your money back ( or most of it)
Dont forget when your political candidates come calling commit them to do something after the election and then make sure you follow up on them

Dont forget the hard work you have done has got your money back, the satisfaction and also if you were charging professional rate for your time you have probably saved another 50K
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Stephen Sefton on 08/05/2017(UTC), Mickey on 08/05/2017(UTC), Alan Selwood on 08/05/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 08 May 2017 11:10:47(UTC)
#37

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andy mac;46486 wrote:
Dont forget the hard work you have done has got your money back, the satisfaction and also if you were charging professional rate for your time you have probably saved another 50K


Actually, had I used "professionals" to recover the money they would have taken 30% of what they recover - that's the going rate. So in fact I am far better off than I could have been.

The way I got it back, in a nutshell, was:-
a) kept all correspondence. What the various actors in this did, was occasionally "tripped up" in what they said in emails and letters.
b) I Constantly raised the issues with them. e.g. The funds were unregulated collectives; the advisers were not authorised to give investment advice; the funds never had published audited accounts; I discovered the directors of one fund were already on record as actors in previous scams .... the issues went on and on and on ....
c) when organisations believe they have something to lose (whether money or freedom), that is greater than the cost of giving back the money, they will always choose the path of least resistance - it's called damage limitation. I guided them to the path of least resistance.

But it was realising I had been scammed before the funds failed that was key. I pushed hard to unwind the situation. Most victims don't find out until their pension has been bled dry and the funds fail. It's then too late.

Panorama last year did a documentary on pension scams and it was absolutely useless. No one was prosecuted; no one recovered anything. The publicity made little difference in the grand scale of things. You just can't get this issue into the public consciousness.

There are hundreds (maybe thousands) blissfully ignorant of their situation. It's a timebomb and the scale of it is yet to be realised.

3 users thanked Stephen Sefton for this post.
Mickey on 08/05/2017(UTC), xcity on 08/05/2017(UTC), Alan Selwood on 08/05/2017(UTC)
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