How investment bond scammers pose as real bankers to lure victims: beware of scammers using big bank names
Legit: The real William Daly works at Morgan Stanley in London
There is a man named William Thomas Daly who works for the American bank Morgan Stanley. You can easily find his details on the register of authorized persons, controlled by the country’s regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
This register is designed to assure investors that when they buy products or seek financial advice, they are dealing with people and companies they can trust – approved by the FCA.
But fraudsters are now using details openly available on the register – such as those about Mr Daly – to persuade the public that the products they are peddling are genuine when they are just scams.
The good name of Mr Daly, who works in ‘customers’ with Morgan Stanley, is being used by a team of fraudsters to push investors into investment bonds, allegedly offered by big brands such as the energy company Centrica and M&S.
Although Morgan Stanley would not comment on the cloning of details of its respected employee, it was able to confirm to the Mail on Sunday that the real Mr Daly was not involved – and that the bond offer was a scam.
Investment bond scams have reached epidemic proportions in recent months, with investors receiving emails promising fixed annual interest at 7.125%.
Some people, like Ron Newman (see below), were bombarded, despite never accepting the offers. All bonds would come from well-known brands such as Centrica, EDF Energy, Heathrow and M&S.
The cloning of Mr Daly’s details was discovered by Doug Brodie, founder and chief executive of London-based Chancery Lane, a firm specializing in retirement income.
Earlier this month, Brodie was contacted by a wealthy client about to invest £85,000 in what he thought were Centrica bonds, paying 7% interest. By investing £85,000, the client thought his money would be fully protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Brodie immediately advised him to hold the fire while he probed. Going through the documents, he immediately knew that the bail was a scam, albeit a “sophisticated one”. Yet he had not finished.
Using the bond purchase agreement his client had received – but not yet sent the funds – he called the contact number (0800 102 6066) and asked to speak to the person his client had dealt with – William Daly. Part of the conversation is posted above.
Throughout, the fraudster refused to answer key questions – for example, the bank account Brodie’s client should send his money to and Mr. Daly’s email address at Morgan Stanley (proving that he works for the bank).
But he tried to convince Brodie he was an FCA authorized person by providing details of his registration. Luckily, Brodie’s client didn’t make the purchase.
But Brodie says more needs to be done urgently to protect investors. On Friday, he told the MoS: ‘My gripe is not just about fraudsters who should be hunted down.
“It is also essential that the banks that provide the accounts fraudsters use to receive funds do more to vet applicants and detect criminal activity.”
The phone number used by the scammers is provided by a company called DIDWW, based in Ireland.
It presents itself as a platform for “telecom professionals”. The who-called.co.uk website says the number has been “identified as an investment scam”.
The FCA told the MoS: “Clone investment scams can seem real, so it’s important to check every detail. If you are still unsure, call our helpline (0800 111 6768) for more information.’
On Friday, DIDWW said the number used by the scammers had been “permanently suspended”.
The FOUR ‘big name offers’ sent to Ron, 85
Since early last month, businessman Ron Newman has been targeted by fraudsters looking to make him lose money.
Although he’s never been tempted – he’s too smart for that – the 85-year-old fears others receiving the same bond offers will be cheated.
“The bond trades look incredibly genuine,” he says, “and could fool a lot of people into losing their money.”
Scam: the bonds are supposed to come from EDF, Centrica, Heathrow and M&S
In recent weeks Ron, who lives with his wife Joyce in Shepperton, Surrey, has received bond “offers” from Heathrow, M&S, Centrica and EDF Energy. All sent by email.
All promise to pay generous fixed interest rates – up to 7.125% – and are disguised as “greens”.
In some cases, Ron has also received “come-ons”, urging him not to be missed due to “high levels of applications”.
The last bond offer he received was allegedly from EDF Energy, promising a fixed annual interest rate of up to 6.95%. Ron, an avid golfer, made money selling clothes and equipment to lawn bowlers. He is now comfortably seated and making offers that are too good to be true lightly. But he wants such mailings to be limited.
The four companies whose details had been cloned told the MoS they were aware of the fraudulent bonds.
Heathrow said its cyber-fraud team was alerted, while Centrica said it took action to take down the website behind the fraudulent bail.