Fears over Alliance Trust telephone scam downplayed

Alarm has been raised over a bogus telephone scam targetting investors in Alliance Trust, following several reports that the company alerted the regulator to a spate of calls to shareholders from individuals that purported to be interested in buying shares at twice their market value.

However, a source with knowledge of the situation has downplayed the threat to investors, saying that Alliance Trust had alerted the Financial Services Authority and published a statement on its website in November 2011 and that the calls had since abated.

The company’s statement confirmed that it was aware some investors who hold shares in their own name rather than through a nominee account had received the telephone calls, which purported to come from an organisation that is looking to acquire shares in the company.

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Alliance Trust said the callers were offered to double the current share price to acquire the shares and were asked either to pay money to the caller to confirm their interest, or to send a copy of their share certificate.

In the statement on its website, Alliance Trust said: “We have alerted the FSA to the issue. Calls offering payment well in excess of the price of our shares on the London stockmarket are almost invariably scams designed to extract cash or details of your investments that they would use to your detriment.

“We do not recommend that you comply with this type of request. We advise that prior to buying or selling shares you should contact your stockbroker or financial adviser.”