The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is contacting more than 76,000 people to let them know they could be targets for fraudsters trying to con them out of their money.
The names appeared on a number of lists recovered from companies that the FSA believes were fraudulently selling investments in land or worthless, sometimes non-existent, shares.
Combined into one list of 76,732 people, this is the largest number of potential victims that the FSA has ever contacted in one go.
Letters from the regulator will be arriving on people’s doormats from today. Most of the list contains the names and addresses of the targets, but in 19,101 cases only e-mail addresses are listed, therefore the FSA will be sending those people an e-mail warning.
The letter provides tips on how to spot a scam, avoid becoming a victim and what to do if you have already invested.
The watchdog said it will not call people for further information and will never ask for money, bank account or personal details.
Jonathan Phelan, the FSA’s head of unauthorised business, said: “If you get a letter or e-mail from the FSA over the next five or six weeks, please read it – it could you save you tens of thousands of pounds.
“If you have already been contacted by a firm offering you a ‘once in lifetime’ investment opportunity or have already invested, then tell us. The information you have could help us catch criminals and shut down their scams.”
The FSA has a team ready to answer questions about the letter and investment scams generally who can be contacted on 0845 155 6355.