How the bond crooks pose as real bankers to lure victims
By Jeff Prestridge
dmg media (UK)
Wealth & Personal Finance
THERE is a man called William Thomas Daly who works for American bank Morgan Stanley. You can easily find his details on the register of authorised individuals, controlled by the country’s regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This register is designed to assure investors that when buying products or seeking financial advice they are dealing with people and companies they can trust – vetted by the FCA. But fraudsters are now using details openly available on the register – such as those pertaining to Mr Daly – to persuade the public that the products they are peddling are authentic when they are nothing but scams. The good name of Mr Daly, who works in ‘client dealing’ with Morgan Stanley, is being used by a team of fraudsters to push investors into investment bonds, purportedly offered by big brands such as energy company Centrica and M&S. Although Morgan Stanley did not want to comment on the cloning of its respected employee’s details, it was able to confirm to The Mail on Sunday that the real Mr Daly was not involved – and that the bond offering was a scam. Investment bond scams have hit epidemic proportions in recent months with investors receiving emails promising annual interest fixed at up to 7.125 per cent. Some people, such as Ron Newman, (see below), have been bombarded, despite never taking up the offers. All the bonds are allegedly from familiar brands such as Centrica, EDF Energy, Heathrow and M&S. The cloning of Mr Daly’s details was uncovered by Doug Brodie, founder and chief executive of London-based Chancery Lane, a firm specialising in retirement income. Earlier this month, Brodie was contacted by a high net worth client on the verge of investing £85,000 in what he thought were Centrica bonds, paying seven per cent interest. By investing £85,000, the client thought his money would be fully protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Brodie immediately advised him to hold fire while he probed. Reading through the paperwork, he knew straightaway that the bond was a scam, albeit a ‘sophisticated’ one. Yet he wasn’t finished. Using the bond purchase agreement that his client had received – but not yet sent the funds for – he rang the contact number (0800 102 6066) and asked to speak to the person his client had been dealing with – William Daly. Part of the conversation is published above. Throughout, the fraudster refused to answer key questions – for example, the bank account that Brodie’s client would have to send his money to and Mr Daly’s email address at Morgan Stanley (proving he works for the bank). But he did try to convince Brodie he was an individual authorised by the FCA by providing details of his registration. Thankfully, Brodie’s client did not go ahead with the purchase. But Brodie says more urgently needs to be done to protect investors. On Friday, he told the MoS: ‘My gripe is not just with the fraudsters who should be hunted down. ‘It is also key that the banks which supply the accounts that fraudsters use to receive funds should be doing more to vet applicants and detect criminal activity.’ The phone number used by the fraudsters is supplied by an outfit called DIDWW, based in Ireland. It markets itself as a platform for ‘telecoms professionals’. Website who-called.co.uk says the number has been ‘identified as an investment scam’. The FCA told the MoS: ‘Clone investment scams can look real so it’s important to check every detail. If you’re still unsure, call our helpline (0800 111 6768) for further information.’ On Friday, DIDWW said the number the fraudsters were using has been ‘permanently suspended’.