Share this page:
Stay connected:
Welcome to the Citywire Money Forums, where members share investment ideas and discuss everything to do with their money.

You'll need to log in or set up an account to start new discussions or reply to existing ones. See you inside!

Notification

Icon
Error

Scammed Twice!
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 30 March 2017 04:08:01(UTC)
#1

Joined: 14/05/2016(UTC)
Posts: 28

Thanks: 7 times
Was thanked: 55 time(s) in 23 post(s)
There are two types of scam. A double whammy as they say.

The first is orchestrated by spivs that simply con you to transferring your money into unscrupulous ROPS in mickey mouse jurisdictions, and investing it in dodgy, opaque, unregulated offshore funds hiding the underlying risky investment instruments - like unsigned loan notes to harebrained schemes that generally fail sooner or later. The introducer’s make money in huge commissions and the fund managers take admin charges until the fund is bled dry. The fund either fails or your investments deplete and you face financial ruin.

The second is more cruel because you're already down and you're about to be stung by an 'ambulance chaser'. Wolves in sheep's clothing!

You are invited to give what little you have left to an individual, who lives in Spain and was once a director of a company on record for participating in a known pension scam, working in tandem with someone who, you later discover, once worked as a consultant to the very spiv that ripped your pension off in the first place! [sic].

They hold out the hand of hope to recover your pension by promising participation in a class action. You discover that to date they have not recovered a penny for anyone. You have no comeback; no recourse to any kind of refund; no means of complaint. Your money is gone and all you get is a lot of "noise", disguised as help.

Yes, I was stupid. Story of my miserable life. It's probably a blessing that I don't have a lot of it left. The sooner it comes to an end the better.
4 users thanked Stephen Sefton for this post.
Joe Soap on 30/03/2017(UTC), Mickey on 30/03/2017(UTC), srg751 on 30/03/2017(UTC), Brian Martin on 03/05/2017(UTC)
Joe Soap
Posted: 30 March 2017 07:54:49(UTC)
#2

Joined: 24/01/2010(UTC)
Posts: 492

Thanks: 59 times
Was thanked: 120 time(s) in 81 post(s)
I know who you mean in Spain. But you didn't engage them, did you? (I hope not).
srg751
Posted: 30 March 2017 09:09:57(UTC)
#4

Joined: 10/08/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,142

Thanks: 395 times
Was thanked: 959 time(s) in 486 post(s)

Sorry about your bad fortune Stephen, it's obvious that it's had an affect on you and I'm sure that in time you'll recover your mojo, however impossible it must seem at the moment. Let's hope that by posting your story others might stop to think before falling into the trap.
Please try to focus on the positives in your life and thanks for the post Stephen, good luck moving forward.
2 users thanked srg751 for this post.
Guest on 03/04/2017(UTC), Brian Martin on 03/05/2017(UTC)
16
Posted: 30 March 2017 09:22:04(UTC)
#5

Joined: 04/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 38

Thanks: 4 times
Was thanked: 21 time(s) in 14 post(s)
agree with SRG751

Thanks for sharing Stephen
1 user thanked 16 for this post.
Ken Adams on 09/04/2017(UTC)
Alan Selwood
Posted: 30 March 2017 14:34:37(UTC)
#6

Joined: 17/12/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,269

Thanks: 416 times
Was thanked: 3193 time(s) in 1283 post(s)
Stephen,

8 months ago, you said:
"But there you go. I have been silenced. That's life. I am down, but not out!"
[Positive attitude]

Recently you said that you had been able to retrieve around 92% of the money.
[Positive statement]

Assuming that that amount is indeed now back under proper legal UK control for your benefit, the only thing left to sort out is the understandably demoralising effect on you of the whole business.
[Job in progress]

Let's face it, conmen are very plausible, otherwise they would fail in their chosen (if misguided) career.

You were trusting (like every single one of the many decent people I know) and unlucky enough to be targeted, because of their warped morality.

It is in no way your fault, whatever your subconscious mind may believe. It is not a sin to be trusting - quite the reverse! It's a great virtue, because you want to (and expect to) see the same good in other people that is inside yourself.

Now there is a way to 'stay positive' when you don't think you can be. It's a method you can use, and others I've come across have successfully used it:

At least once an hour (whatever you're doing, and whatever you're thinking), say to yourself very firmly:
"I'm not down and I am definitely not out!"
and then:
"I'm past the worst, and things are already getting better."

Say this regularly to yourself, and your subconscious will have no option but to believe what is, after all, the truth. Then you will begin to feel normal again, and the emotional impact will be over. Much faster than you now think.

If, after reading what I have just written, you don't believe me, you have three choices (only)

(i) Make yourself say it, even if you think it sounds silly.
(ii) Ask the person you care for most to say to you hourly:
'You're not down and you're definitely not out' and then 'You're already getting better, you're already getting over it.'
(iii) You go to your doctor as fast as you can get there in surgery hours, and demand an urgent appointment (refuse to leave the building until you've had the appointment), at which you relate all that has happened, and ask the doctor for help.

Trust me! It will work.

Keep us posted on your progress.
11 users thanked Alan Selwood for this post.
andy mac on 30/03/2017(UTC), Jeff Liddiard on 30/03/2017(UTC), Lemanie on 30/03/2017(UTC), chubby bunny on 30/03/2017(UTC), Colin Deakins on 30/03/2017(UTC), Stephen Sefton on 31/03/2017(UTC), Mike L on 31/03/2017(UTC), Alan Anderson on 01/04/2017(UTC), Mr J on 01/04/2017(UTC), Nigel Harris on 02/04/2017(UTC), dd on 10/04/2017(UTC)
King Lodos
Posted: 30 March 2017 17:07:14(UTC)
#7

Joined: 05/01/2016(UTC)
Posts: 1,327

Thanks: 212 times
Was thanked: 1429 time(s) in 644 post(s)
We should have more public information broadcasts along the lines of:

'Don't ever entrust money to anyone you've not personally sought out and thoroughly researched.'

'Don't ever give any personal information when someone calls you – even if you believe it's your bank, stockbroker, etc.'

Call them back on the real number .. All it would take is someone going through my bin to know every bank and fund platform I use, and they could phone me up with all the right information .. It's just too easy.

And if it's easy, there'll be people doing it .. Call them, find them, research them .. If they come to you, it could be anyone.
1 user thanked King Lodos for this post.
Stephen Sefton on 31/03/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 31 March 2017 02:11:32(UTC)
#3

Joined: 14/05/2016(UTC)
Posts: 28

Thanks: 7 times
Was thanked: 55 time(s) in 23 post(s)
Joe Soap;45251 wrote:
I know who you mean in Spain. But you didn't engage them, did you? (I hope not).


I did.
1 user thanked Stephen Sefton for this post.
Joe Soap on 31/03/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 31 March 2017 02:21:44(UTC)
#10

Joined: 14/05/2016(UTC)
Posts: 28

Thanks: 7 times
Was thanked: 55 time(s) in 23 post(s)
A lot of positive comments. Thank you.

I did trust people. I am a trusting person. All my career I have committed to delivering for my clients what I say I will deliver. I have never let anyone down and have expected same from others. It's called professionalism. And, by and large others have behaved the same.

But in the last couple of years I have discovered a different world.
1 user thanked Stephen Sefton for this post.
Joe Soap on 31/03/2017(UTC)
Joe Soap
Posted: 31 March 2017 02:54:09(UTC)
#11

Joined: 24/01/2010(UTC)
Posts: 492

Thanks: 59 times
Was thanked: 120 time(s) in 81 post(s)
Thank you again for the valuable insights that I am sure many more people will gain from Google searches on this topic.

Please confirm you actually have the 92% of your assets back under your control back in the UK though?

Good luck and best wishes.
andy mac
Posted: 31 March 2017 09:08:35(UTC)
#12

Joined: 12/02/2016(UTC)
Posts: 118

Thanks: 61 times
Was thanked: 94 time(s) in 56 post(s)
Stephen unfortunately its a changing world
I used to try and go the extra mile and was told to stop as it cost money. So I did and it cost the company money. Its never their fault. Only today I ring up a well platform to ask where my settlement is ( overdue) and eventually told there was some confusion. Not mine
I asked them to listen to the recording ( they claim they have them ).
Again they tried it was unclear etc and they were waiting for an instruction from me. The previous time I was told I didnt need to put anything in writing, Guess what they are going to get it everytime now
Insurance companies , holiday firms car companies etc haggle and they come up with a lower price several time
I always gave my best price and if someone undercut me then hard luck and I moved on.

Perhaps the scammers always existed but social media helps

I hope that you can invest in the future, thank you for your updates

Have a good day

.
Tony Peterson
Posted: 31 March 2017 14:31:09(UTC)
#13

Joined: 10/08/2009(UTC)
Posts: 868

Thanks: 475 times
Was thanked: 794 time(s) in 397 post(s)
I think that many well-intentioned responses to Stephen's original post on this new thread miss the point.

I do not see how he could be so despondent (I don't think he is suicidal but he clearly worried some of you) unless he had been lead to believe he would get back 92% of his lost pension funds, and has now discovered that this is not the case. He can tell us if I have misread him.

There are systems in place to track down fraudsters in the EU and elsewhere. Victims of fraud are able to seek redress through the financial conduct authority, the police, and interpol. Indeed some victims of boiler room scams have had significant money returned from the seizure of fraudsters' assets.

Go for them Stephen.

2 users thanked Tony Peterson for this post.
srg751 on 31/03/2017(UTC), Ken Adams on 09/04/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 31 March 2017 16:29:57(UTC)
#14

Joined: 14/05/2016(UTC)
Posts: 28

Thanks: 7 times
Was thanked: 55 time(s) in 23 post(s)
Not suicidal! But my health is not good, so unlikely to live a long life which is why I transferred my pension. The ceding provider offered only an annuity option and this made zero sense if I am unlikely to live more than 10 yrs.

I do have 92% of my pension back & it is in a regulated provider and I have a regulated adviser.

By the way the FCA abandoned me. If you get scammed by "unregulated" firms you are abandoned.

The first scam was bad enough. The second was cruel but again, it's an individual not in covered by regulation.
5 users thanked Stephen Sefton for this post.
xcity on 31/03/2017(UTC), King Lodos on 31/03/2017(UTC), Tony Peterson on 31/03/2017(UTC), Alan Anderson on 01/04/2017(UTC), dd on 10/04/2017(UTC)
Tony Peterson
Posted: 31 March 2017 16:52:08(UTC)
#15

Joined: 10/08/2009(UTC)
Posts: 868

Thanks: 475 times
Was thanked: 794 time(s) in 397 post(s)
Stephen

All of your friends on this site will be relieved to hear that my worst fears for you were unfounded.

As an intelligent, experienced professional with health issues (many of us are in that boat) you must try to optimise the resources you have at your disposal.

Best wishes. Tony
4 users thanked Tony Peterson for this post.
xcity on 31/03/2017(UTC), Lemanie on 31/03/2017(UTC), Mickey on 31/03/2017(UTC), Alan Anderson on 01/04/2017(UTC)
xcity
Posted: 31 March 2017 17:13:44(UTC)
#16

Joined: 12/04/2015(UTC)
Posts: 385

Thanks: 75 times
Was thanked: 348 time(s) in 180 post(s)
Tony Peterson;45324 wrote:
All of your friends on this site will be relieved to hear that my worst fears for you were unfounded.

Agreed.
2 users thanked xcity for this post.
Lemanie on 31/03/2017(UTC), Tony Peterson on 31/03/2017(UTC)
Alan Selwood
Posted: 31 March 2017 20:46:19(UTC)
#17

Joined: 17/12/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,269

Thanks: 416 times
Was thanked: 3193 time(s) in 1283 post(s)
Stephen,

So pleased to hear you confirm that you did get the 92% back!

Even more pleased to hear that you are not as despondent as some of your recent posts led me to believe.

Stay positive, enjoy life, do what you can while you can. (That's what a 96 year old friend keeps telling me).
2 users thanked Alan Selwood for this post.
Tony Peterson on 31/03/2017(UTC), xcity on 31/03/2017(UTC)
Alan Selwood
Posted: 31 March 2017 20:55:11(UTC)
#8

Joined: 17/12/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,269

Thanks: 416 times
Was thanked: 3193 time(s) in 1283 post(s)
King Lodos;45279 wrote:
We should have more public information broadcasts along the lines of:

'Don't ever entrust money to anyone you've not personally sought out and thoroughly researched.'

'Don't ever give any personal information when someone calls you – even if you believe it's your bank, stockbroker, etc.'

Call them back on the real number .. All it would take is someone going through my bin to know every bank and fund platform I use, and they could phone me up with all the right information .. It's just too easy.

And if it's easy, there'll be people doing it .. Call them, find them, research them .. If they come to you, it could be anyone.


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.

It won't be easy, especially with those whose mental faculties are fading with extreme old age, but we feel very motivated to do what we can.

Anyone with useful stories that we can share will help us all. ("No names, no pack drill")
6 users thanked Alan Selwood for this post.
Tony Peterson on 31/03/2017(UTC), xcity on 31/03/2017(UTC), Colin Deakins on 31/03/2017(UTC), Stephen Sefton on 01/04/2017(UTC), Martina on 02/04/2017(UTC), Nigel Harris on 02/04/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 01 April 2017 05:17:33(UTC)
#9

Joined: 14/05/2016(UTC)
Posts: 28

Thanks: 7 times
Was thanked: 55 time(s) in 23 post(s)
Alan Selwood;45339 wrote:
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.

It won't be easy, especially with those whose mental faculties are fading with extreme old age, but we feel very motivated to do what we can.

Anyone with useful stories that we can share will help us all. ("No names, no pack drill")


What's the process? I have become somewhat of an expert in "scams" - the hard way, and I have the scars to prove it.

Whilst I agree "prevention" is better than cure, there are thousands of people unknowingly facing financial ruin because they have fallen for a scam but are as yet unaware of it. It is nigh on impossible to reach these people. Then there is the matter of what they do when they suspect they have been scammed.

And lastly, there are those that have been scammed and found out their pensions are gone.

How can all these people be helped? What do they do next? They are in a devastating situation. Each category of victim has different needs for advice.

There is a lack of information on where to get help especially for those already victims - and this is where the cruel "ambulance chaser" enters the scene - recruiting those that are already down and makes money offering false hope of recovery!

The FCA abandoned me, the PAS abandoned me and so did action fraud, they simply confirmed, "yes, it has the characteristics of a scam" and said I had probably lost all my money but offering no options of recovery.

I recovered 92% of my pension by intense persistence. I redeemed the shares in the toxic funds and pressured the trustees to negotiate refunds of exit penalties and admin charges. But it was an uphill struggle and very stressful.

All parties got their lawyers to threaten me and as some of you will remember, they also threatened citywire who were quick to buckle and took down the thread I started last year to warn others, which also resulted in the whole forum being taken down for about two weeks!

When I was persuaded to join a "class action" I caved in - with lawyers on my back life was getting stressful and this group seemed to offer some "protection" - that's what's so cruel - exploiting the stress of already scammed victims.

I count myself lucky. I am not destitute. I no longer face the possibility of sleeping in a cardboard box somewhere selling "Big Issues".

I feel for those that have not only lost their pension but are now being conned into believing there is some hope of recovery from someone with no track record of success.
1 user thanked Stephen Sefton for this post.
xcity on 01/04/2017(UTC)
Lemanie
Posted: 01 April 2017 08:20:16(UTC)
#18

Joined: 09/02/2016(UTC)
Posts: 5

Thanks: 23 times
Was thanked: 1 time(s) in 1 post(s)
Stephen

I'm so sorry for your troubles and thank you for posting. I'm new to investing and not educated in the subject but reading a lot and being helped by the forum contributors.

Are you saying that the scammers had lawyers? I'm assuming there is fine line between fraud and unscrupulous behaviour. Education is key as these type of experiences could put people off investing for their future. I've been trying to persuade my son who could benefit more than me, that it is a good thing to invest. He is self employed and clearly needs to save as todays youngsters futures are not as secure as previous generations.

Thank you for sharing your experience and hope you can overcome your feelings and enjoy your life.



1 user thanked Lemanie for this post.
Alan Anderson on 01/04/2017(UTC)
Stephen Sefton
Posted: 02 April 2017 07:14:05(UTC)
#19

Joined: 14/05/2016(UTC)
Posts: 28

Thanks: 7 times
Was thanked: 55 time(s) in 23 post(s)
Lemanie;45346 wrote:
Are you saying that the scammers had lawyers?



Absolutely they do! Blood sucking lawyers will do anything for money!

I am not so sure there is a fine line. The evidence I have shows irrefutably fraud. I have made a very detailed report of the whole episode because I kept all the communications - letters, emails, documents etc.

Last year, as my ordeal was unfolding, I recorded, step by step a) how I got into the mess and b) the actions I was taking to extricate myself from it.

I was giving live updates to the forum how it was proceeding. I did name the organisations that were involved but didn't name "individuals". It was a vibrant thread with a lot of interest. It was also a way of reaching out to those who might have been duped but didn't know it to examine their own position so they could take action before they faced financial ruin.

Unfortunately the people involved discovered the thread and their lawyer wrote to me and citywire claiming the content was defamatory and was to be taken down. I was also warned that if I continued to accuse them of this they would take legal action against me. Hence in these postings I have not even hinted at any of the perpetrators - and won't either.

Citywire, not knowing the evidence I held, instantly buckled and removed the thread. As journalists they could have instead, engaged with me and examined the evidence for themselves and could have had a scoop, but they didn't.

Recently the Sunday Times took an interest and so did ITN who were planning a programme similar to the one Panorama did last year but they wanted to do a better job - which in my opinion isn't difficult. The panorama attempt was pathetic! ITN were planning a sting on the firm of advisers by posing as a prospective client. Whether they did or not I don't know and not really interested. To date journalists have done a really poor job at uncovering and reporting these scams. In my opinion they've been a total waste of time.

Education is key but it is sparse and confidence tricksters are experts at their profession - have been since time began I guess and will be forever more. Whilst I don't like what they do, I accept they are very good at it.
2 users thanked Stephen Sefton for this post.
Joe Soap on 02/04/2017(UTC), Lemanie on 02/04/2017(UTC)
jeffian
Posted: 02 April 2017 10:16:23(UTC)
#20

Joined: 09/03/2011(UTC)
Posts: 353

Thanks: 91 times
Was thanked: 404 time(s) in 169 post(s)
Stephen,
You write movingly about the impact these things have on real lives. I do remember the previous thread but not the detail. I didn't realise it had been removed. I'm afraid websites aren't very 'brave' in standing up for their contributors. One comment inspired by your last post - I was a contributor to another financial forum which gave my (and others') name and address to a company chairman who sent solicitors letters to all of us threatening to sue us for libel. (In that case, the website did not take down the thread and it rather backfired on him because he was ragged mercilessly on the forum and ended up on Radio 4's Today programme being asked by an incredulous John Humphrys whether he thought it was good PR to be suing his own shareholders!). The relevance to you is that, whilst some of the others backed down and retracted, 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, but it isn't just a matter of "scammers and conmen". Over the last 4 years I have been involved in the care of both my own mother and mother-in-law (now both dead) who succumbed to dementia and I was horrified by the willingness of those who should have been looking after their interests - banks, brokers and charities among them - to capitalise on their vulnerability and trust by taking their money inappropriately. My mother, who had large cash deposits to pay for her care, was sold 5(!) 'managed bonds' by her building society (which, of course, generates substantial fees for them); a broker was ringing weekly to sell her 'penny stocks' and both of them were continually pestered for repeat donations by charities to which they had given. So 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.
5 users thanked jeffian for this post.
Stephen Sefton on 02/04/2017(UTC), andy mac on 02/04/2017(UTC), Lemanie on 02/04/2017(UTC), David 111 on 02/04/2017(UTC), S Dobbo on 05/04/2017(UTC)
2 Pages12Next page
+ Reply to discussion

Markets

Other markets