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  • FIRST POST
    • G&M's mum
    • By G&M's mum 10th Nov 17, 3:59 PM
    • 3Posts
    • 16Thanks
    G&M's mum
    'Fine art investment' - beware!
    • #1
    • 10th Nov 17, 3:59 PM
    'Fine art investment' - beware! 10th Nov 17 at 3:59 PM
    Hi all

    I'm a newbie to the forum and wanted give you lovely money savers a heads-up about the experience my 82-year-old mum has been through this week with a company called Alternative Investments (assetconsultingservices.com). I have already reported them in detail to the FCA, Action Fraud and have also emailed Rip Off Britain, so I won't give a blow-by-blow account here, just a summary:

    This company's tactic appears to be to cold-call people and claim that their shareholding is underperforming, quoting a vastly reduced valuation and offering to invest that money in fine art instead,claiming a return of 15% over 6 months. Their sales technique seems to be to keep talking until the weary recipient agrees to having some paperwork sent to them, if only to get the cold caller off the phone. The company then courier over a 'Fine Art Purchase Agreement' (sent from Spain) a couple of days later and follow it up with another call. If the recipient rejects the agreement during this call they are immediately threatened with legal action, as the company claims that verbally agreeing to have paperwork sent through constitutes a legally binding contract to pay the money.

    The company is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (as stated on the FCA website).

    This bullying, intimidating behaviour is a disgrace and I suspect that this company will be deliberately targeting more mature individuals, trying to scare them into handing over their money. They have already reduced my mum to a nervous wreck - a usually very savvy lady who takes care of her own financial arrangements without any assistance, but who was caught out at a vulnerable moment due to illness. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone. Stay safe, people!
Page 1
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 10th Nov 17, 4:28 PM
    • 10,170 Posts
    • 11,447 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    • #2
    • 10th Nov 17, 4:28 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Nov 17, 4:28 PM
    Perhaps time to be getting a financial POA for your mum and taking control of her finances ?
    • Reaper
    • By Reaper 10th Nov 17, 4:28 PM
    • 6,286 Posts
    • 4,545 Thanks
    Reaper
    • #3
    • 10th Nov 17, 4:28 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Nov 17, 4:28 PM
    I'm sorry to hear that. Your description can be applied to many dodgy firms out there. For her future protection I suggest you tell her it is illegal for regulated firms to cold call people about investments, so to receive such a call immediately means it is unregulated firm calling.

    There is no need to be polite, just put the phone down on them.

    The bullying is a common tactic in the bottom end of the market and pretty much marks it as a scam.

    If she gave them any money then she should be warned:
    1) She will now be on a "suckers list" which gets sold to other dodgy companies
    2) She may be contacted by another company who say they can recover her money. It's a scam too.

    Although you said the name of the company was Alternative Investments the web site you gave was for Asset Consulting Services. There is an FCA warning about them as you are probably aware:
    https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/asset-consulting-consultant-services
    Last edited by Reaper; 10-11-2017 at 4:31 PM.
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 10th Nov 17, 4:29 PM
    • 12,712 Posts
    • 11,408 Thanks
    jimjames
    • #4
    • 10th Nov 17, 4:29 PM
    Alternative Investments assetconsultingservices.com review
    • #4
    • 10th Nov 17, 4:29 PM
    Thanks for the feedback on Alternative Investments (assetconsultingservices.com) it's always useful to know about companies that are not FCA registered that are approaching UK consumers.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
    • badger09
    • By badger09 10th Nov 17, 5:18 PM
    • 6,158 Posts
    • 5,524 Thanks
    badger09
    • #5
    • 10th Nov 17, 5:18 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Nov 17, 5:18 PM
    OP thanks for sharing your mum's experience

    I wonder how long it will be before another newbie signs up just to give their glowing endorsement to this company
    • LHW99
    • By LHW99 10th Nov 17, 5:39 PM
    • 1,388 Posts
    • 1,268 Thanks
    LHW99
    • #6
    • 10th Nov 17, 5:39 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Nov 17, 5:39 PM
    Maybe a call blocker for the phone would help?
    • Vortigern
    • By Vortigern 10th Nov 17, 7:48 PM
    • 2,535 Posts
    • 1,718 Thanks
    Vortigern
    • #7
    • 10th Nov 17, 7:48 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Nov 17, 7:48 PM
    Maybe a call blocker for the phone would help?
    Originally posted by LHW99
    ...or get mum to change her number and go ex-directory.
    • G&M's mum
    • By G&M's mum 23rd Nov 17, 7:24 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    G&M's mum
    • #8
    • 23rd Nov 17, 7:24 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd Nov 17, 7:24 PM
    Thanks for your good thoughts - sorry for late reply to you all. Mum has had no further contact from these crooks. We already have a POA in place for when it becomes necessary but she is getting back to being as sharp as ever after a series of stressful events - they just caught her at a low ebb on a bad day. Next scam caller won't be so lucky, I dread to think what she'll say!
    • PL Coventry
    • By PL Coventry 8th Aug 18, 5:06 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    PL Coventry
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 5:06 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 5:06 PM
    I have been taken in by it and am now being threatened with legal action. I have reported them to the FCA and Action Police Fraud they will not stop calling me and I canít block number as it is withheld. Very threatening and bullying beyond belief!!
    Last edited by PL Coventry; 08-08-2018 at 5:11 PM. Reason: Typing error
    • Camster
    • By Camster 8th Aug 18, 5:45 PM
    • 81 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    Camster
    Might be worth speaking to your phone provider to see if they can block any numbers where the number is with held.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 8th Aug 18, 6:01 PM
    • 93,964 Posts
    • 61,759 Thanks
    dunstonh
    The FCA are the regulator that deals with regulated companies. This is not an area that is regulated.

    Action Fraud is the correct place but it wont be "actioned" until sufficient numbers report it.

    BT 1572 allows you to block all withheld numbers. That may work as its normally only scams that withhold. If you do have a friend or relative that withholds their number, you can tell them not to do it when ringing you.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • OldMusicGuy
    • By OldMusicGuy 8th Aug 18, 6:14 PM
    • 513 Posts
    • 994 Thanks
    OldMusicGuy
    BT also offers Call Protect which lets you block any caller, regardless of them withholding their number.
    • reeac
    • By reeac 8th Aug 18, 8:38 PM
    • 1,217 Posts
    • 494 Thanks
    reeac
    The FCA are the regulator that deals with regulated companies. This is not an area that is regulated.

    Action Fraud is the correct place but it wont be "actioned" until sufficient numbers report it.

    BT 1572 allows you to block all withheld numbers. That may work as its normally only scams that withhold. If you do have a friend or relative that withholds their number, you can tell them not to do it when ringing you.
    Originally posted by dunstonh
    The NHS, presumably for medical confidentiality reasons, withhold their number which has caused us a number of problems with arranging appointments. Because of this we now tend to pick up "number withheld" calls but then hang up promptly if they're rubbish calls.
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 8th Aug 18, 9:06 PM
    • 12,712 Posts
    • 11,408 Thanks
    jimjames
    I have been taken in by it and am now being threatened with legal action. I have reported them to the FCA and Action Police Fraud they will not stop calling me and I canít block number as it is withheld. Very threatening and bullying beyond belief!!
    Originally posted by PL Coventry
    The threats are almost certainly scare tactics and with no intention of following through if they are selling unregulated products direct to consumers
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
    • Reaper
    • By Reaper 9th Aug 18, 9:12 AM
    • 6,286 Posts
    • 4,545 Thanks
    Reaper
    Definitely scare tactics. Tell them to "put up or shut up" and go ahead and sue you. They won't as the last thing they would want to do is lose the anonymity they are hiding behind by identifying themselves to the courts. They are breaking multiple laws, you have not broken any despite what they claim.
    • G&M's mum
    • By G&M's mum 9th Aug 18, 9:16 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    G&M's mum
    Don't worry about the threats - they're just empty noise and this is how they make their money. If they contact you again ask them if they're registered with the FCA as you will be reporting them. That should get rid of them.

    Rather than ringing them I set up a new email account and sent them a 'cease and desist' message, telling them I was reporting them to Action Fraud, the FCA and the BBC. Nothing since, apart from one call to my mum from a 'different' company with the same technique. She told them exactly where to go and put the phone down on them! Go my mum!
    • PL Coventry
    • By PL Coventry 10th Aug 18, 12:41 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    PL Coventry
    Thanks for all the help I will try the new email account as they have today said they will be pursuing court action.
    • dealer wins
    • By dealer wins 10th Aug 18, 12:31 PM
    • 5,917 Posts
    • 11,333 Thanks
    dealer wins
    Thanks for all the help I will try the new email account as they have today said they will be pursuing court action.
    Originally posted by PL Coventry
    They would be laughed out of court, and hopefully arrested on the spot if they ever tried that lol
    Choose life
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