The Financial Services Authority has warned 49,387 people they could be at risk of being sold worthless shares, after a list of their personal contact details was discovered.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) recovered a list used by criminals called boiler room fraudsters. Boiler room fraudsters contact people who have often bought shares in the past and try to sell them worthless shares.
The 49,387-people list is the biggest ever recovered by the FSA. It contained the names, addresses and telephone numbers of every person.The FSA recovered the list through intelligence work with counterparts in the US.
An FSA spokesman said the fraudsters are often very professional, using websites and e-mail with an official appearance. They can get hold of the details of shareholders simply though share registers, which are in the public domain.
"Boiler room fraudsters often sound like the real deal so it's easy to be drawn in by their professional and high-pressure sales tactics. In reality however, the shares are worthless or don't exist and the money is lost forever."