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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
The City of London Police has disclosed that it carried out a series of coordinated raids this past Tuesday, October 17, aimed at stemming Binary Options fraud in the city.
London authorities still call Binary Options fraud a “growing problem”, with the police’s Action Fraud stats showing that in just the first half of 2017, 697 people reported to have lost over £18 million to binary options fraud.
The police ‘day of action’ used what it called Operation Broadway tactics (more on that below), mostly visiting businesses occupying serviced offices and reviewing their compliance documents.
The City of London Police conducted a day of action on Tuesday and visited 20 offices with the City of London Corporation’s Trading Standards.
Assisted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the police stated that it was able to help gather intelligence on different types of investment fraud and in particular Binary Options fraud.
The day brought some interesting results with one team discovering a business that had paid over three month’s rent upfront to the serviced office provider and then had disappeared. Work will now take place to establish information about this company and investigate whether it was possibly a boiler room.
In 2014 the City of London Police, City of London Corporation Trading Standards, Metropolitan Police, National Trading Standards ‘Scambusters’ Team, HMRC and the FCA, launched Operation Broadway, a London-wide intelligence-led drive to uncover and disrupt suspected ‘boiler room’ investment frauds operating out of some of the capital’s most iconic buildings in the heart of the UK’s main financial districts.
Operation Broadway teams have conducted inspections and disruption raids at over 100 offices in the City and Canary Wharf since its launch. Police and Trading Standards staff believe this has created a hostile environment for fraudsters.
Over the next six months an intelligence picture will be developed using the information gathered from the day of action, to ensure that investment fraudsters are prevented from operating in the City of London.
With an average loss of over £22,000, those who fall victim to Binary Options fraud are significantly affected. London Polie states that it is important that all victims report to Action Fraud, to ensure that the extent of the problem can be fully understood and action can be taken to tackle it.
Over the next week, the City of London Police with its partners plan to raise awareness of investment fraud through its social media channels using the hashtag #BeatTheBoilerRooms.
London Police put together the following video, outlining the problem and the tactics used by Binary Options fraudsters:
City of London Police’s Chief Superintendent Glenn Maleary, Head of the Economic Crime Directorate, said:
This multi-agency operation, allowed us to speak with multiple businesses and gather significant intelligence around various investments currently being traded in the City.
With our partners we want to ensure the City is a hostile environment for fraudsters to operate in and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that this is the case.
Throughout this year we have been raising awareness of Binary Options fraud and over the coming days we will be providing more advice on how people can beat the boiler rooms and protect themselves from all types of investment fraud.
Steve Playle, Trading Standards Manager for the City of London Corporation, said:
Trading Standards is a key player in the clampdown on fraudsters. Working closely with our partners, we are deterring investment scammers who use City addresses to create an illusion of respectability that plays an important part in persuading people to part with their money.
This day of action is raising public awareness so that we can all do our bit and report those that we think are involved in this miserable practice.