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26 Jan 2022

Warning: fake investment scam emails pretending to be from Which?

Scammers are posing as Which? to sell sham investments online
Man looking at laptop in confuision

Watch out for scammers impersonating Which? in an attempt to push fake investments on unsuspecting victims. We've seen a bogus email directing potential victims to a fraudulent website that misuses our logo and copyright to appear legitimate.

Do not click on any of its links or follow its instructions - neither these emails nor the website they link to have anything to do with Which?.

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The fake email

A Which? reader alerted us to the fake email on 25 January 2022, sent from <info@whichbondrates.com>. This is not a genuine Which? email address.

This email falsely claims to be advertising 'Which? Recommended Bonds' and states that these have 'been closely vetted by a member of our team' before inviting recipients to click a website link to see the rates on offer.

This website - shown below - unlawfully uses our logo and copyright. It also states that Which? Bond Rates is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited. This is untrue and deliberately misleading.

It was only set up on 21 January 2022 - newly registered sites should always be treated with caution.

It asks visitors to enter their contact details and investment preferences. We strongly suspect from previous investigations that entering your details on this site could lead to follow-up phone calls or emails from scammers attempting to steal money by selling fake investments.

We immediately reported it via the NCSC website reporting tool and will be contacting the registrar to have it taken down.

The latest in a long line of impersonation scams

Scammers will use every trick in the book to convince potential victims. Impersonating a legitimate business or pretending to be endorsed by a celebrity is a common tactic.

Which? has previously reported other fake emails that imitated Which? Trusted Traders as well as Consumers' Association, the registered UK charity that runs the Which? Group.

Any organisation can be targeted by impersonation scammers, for example, in December 2020 Action Fraud warned that it received more than 300 reports of fake emails purporting to be from Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert. We have also warned about fraudsters posing as financial firms Interactive Investor and ING Bank using cloned websites and forged documents.

Don't click on links or call phone numbers in emails or texts without making some checks.

Verify who you are dealing with using trusted contact details before giving away any sensitive personal or financial information. This could be the phone number on the back of your bank's debit card for instance, or the email address listed on the official website.

Investment scams are on the rise

Which? has issued multiple warnings about investment scams, many of which originate on social media sites or search engines.

We've recently uncovered dodgy firms using paid-for adverts on Bing and Facebook to gain traction. In some cases they falsely claim to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or pretend they are offering 'safe' investments.

UK Finance says investment scams jumped 84% in the first half of 2021 and total losses almost doubled from £55.2m in the first half of 2020 to £107.7m.

How to recognise a real email from Which?

As we explain in our FAQs, depending on what type it is, emails from Which? will be sent by one of the following:

  • info@mail.which.co.uk
  • info@act.which.co.uk
  • info@mail.which.co.uk
  • no-reply@which.co.uk
  • noreply@which.co.uk
  • info@which.co.uk
  • which.campaigns@which.co.uk

It may also have been mailed by one of the following services (indicated in the 'mailed-by' field), again depending on the type of email:

  • bounce.mail.which.co.uk
  • bounce.bluestatedigital.com
  • autoresponse.e-activist.com
  • marketingautomation.e-activist.com

'Which?' will always feature prominently in the name of the sender, for example, 'Which?', 'Which? Money', or 'Which? Campaigns'.

If you've received an email claiming to be from Which?, but strikes you as suspicious for any reason, please contact us at scamwatch@which.co.uk.