Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, the FMA has seen a rise in the number of complaints about investment scams and fraud.
Scammers are taking advantage of the crisis either by using COVID-19 as part of their ‘pitch’, or using the economic climate to prey on peoples’ fears and desires.
The FMA has received significantly more complaints about scams in the first half of 2021 – and subsequently issued more public warnings about them – compared to both 2020 and 2019.
From January to June 2021, we received 158 complaints about investment scams and fraud – up 79% on the 88 complaints received during the same period in 2020, when the pandemic began, and up 49% on the 106 complaints in the first half of 2019.
As a result, from January to June, we issued 36 public warnings about suspected scams and other non-compliant entities – up 29% on the 28 warnings issued during the same period in 2020, and up 80% on the 20 issued in the first half of 2019.
The FMA has seen a rise in the following types of scam activity since the start of 2020: