Brits are losing millions to UK’s biggest con while the government stands by.
By Abigail Fielding-Smith and Jack Serle of The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, London
Thousands of British people have lost millions of pounds to an international scheme sold as an investment opportunity which, in reality, is a wild gamble if not an outright scam. Many countries have outlawed these operations. However, in the UK, a regulatory loophole has left victims completely unprotected – despite police saying it is now the biggest fraud in Britain. South African victims are similarly unprotected.
The sale of what is known as binary options involves betting on whether financial assets such as shares, currencies or commodities will rise or fall over a specific period. Even when the bets are legitimately placed, it’s a hugely risky enterprise – but for many companies binary options primarily act as a vehicle for scamming people.
Victims are targeted by salespeople in call centres abroad.