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Investors have been warned to beware of fraudsters targeting former customers of rogue stockbroker Pacific Continental Securities.

The UK Financial Services Authority closed down Pacific Continental Securities in June of 2007. The company had been authorised as a broker for several years but had a turbulent and contentious history. Having done little to police the matter the FSA were finally stung into action following a BBC report in March 2007, which identified Pacific Securities as acting like a “boiler room” using hard-sell techniques to deceive people into buying worthless shares.  Typically “boiler room” operations are run from foreign countries and are thus outside the reach of regulatory authorities.

Countless individuals now own worthless shares and have outstanding claims against Pacific Continental, but with little hope of recovery of much if any of the money they lost. However recently there have been reports of self described “recovery” firms cold-calling former clients of Pacific Continental and offering to buy their shares at what appears to be an attractive price.

I actually received such a call last night. I’ve never been a client of Pacific Continental but did contact them on behalf of a client who raised concerns – which I passed to the FSA – two or three years ago. Shows how good their records are that they contacted someone who actually complained about them. But it also shows that they must be getting the contact information from someone connected with Pacific Continental.

The fact is that these “recovery” companies are totally bogus. What they do is hold out the promise of recovering most, if not all, of the money paid to Pacific Continental – but first of all you have to pay an up front fee to cover costs. Of course once the fees are paid the bogus companies disappear along with the money. What a surprise.

As well as offering to buy shares directly, these bogus firms also make equally fraudulent offers to put people in contact with other potential buyers, again for a fee. In short the whole thing is a total scam.

Investors have been warned to beware of fraudsters targeting former customers of stockbroker Pacific Continental Securities.

The UK Financial Services Authority closed down Pacific Continental Securities in June of 2007. The company had been authorised as a broker for several years but had a turbulent and contentious history. Having done little to police the matter the FSA were finally stung into action following a BBC report in March 2007, which identified Pacific Securities as acting like a “boiler room” using hard-sell techniques to deceive people into buying worthless shares.  Typically “boiler room” operations are run from foreign countries and are thus outside the reach of regulatory authorities.

Countless individuals now own worthless shares and have outstanding claims against Pacific Continental, but with little hope of recovery of much if any of the money they lost. However recently there have been reports of self described “recovery” firms cold-calling former clients of Pacific Continental and offering to buy their shares at what appears to be an attractive price.

I actually received such a call last night. I’ve never been a client of Pacific Continental but did contact them on behalf of a client who raised concerns – which I passed to the FSA – two or three years ago. Shows how good their records are that they contacted someone who actually complained about them. But it also shows that they must be getting the contact information from someone connected with Pacific Continental.

The fact is that these “recovery” companies are totally bogus. What they do is hold out the promise of recovering most, if not all, of the money paid to Pacific Continental – but first of all you have to pay an up front fee to cover costs. Of course once the fees are paid the bogus companies disappear along with the money. What a surprise.

As well as offering to buy shares directly, these bogus firms also make equally fraudulent offers to put people in contact with other potential buyers, again for a fee. In short the whole thing is a total scam.

If you have been contacted by an unauthorised firm, please let the FSA know by calling its Consumer Contact Centre on 0845 606 1234 or completing an online reporting form.

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