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A reporting service by the City of London Action Fraud claimed an increase in the number of reports of wine investment frauds in the last six months. These fraudsters appear reliable and legitimate and possess personal details of the client such as an address, bank account details etc.
The service stated there were 22 incidences of such crimes between 1 June 2018 to 31 Dec 2018, and the victim lost over £97,914.
Some scammers have been tricking victims from four to six years, where the victims’ age ranges from 46 to 86 years, where the victims have been sending money through the third-party account as a bank transfer or paying in instalments for the investment over one to four months.
The fraud companies hold the history of investments made by the client, and even the people who have lost money are recurrently contacted, where they are forced to believe that paying a small fee can help to get back the lost initial investment.
On 23 November 2018, Intercontinental Wines Limited - which claimed to be a wine broker, was wound up in public interest, where the customers said they were promised the cases of wines would be stored in warehouses under their personal accounts, which the company did not provide, and it failed to clear a number of doubts of the investors.
The company was not responding to a number of queries of the investors, where the clients were not sure if the wines were stored in safe holdings purchased on behalf of the clients. The company's representatives said the investments were safe and were delivering profitable returns to the investors.
Complaints were made by the customers to the insolvency service, where the investigation found the company purchased a small percentage of wines for paid customers and not as per the contractual requirement for each customer. The company failed to report customer purchases, and the bank account of the company was used for personal expenses.
Investment in wines can be risky in many terms. Collectors should have proper knowledge of the sector and the value of each bottle. These days some wine scammers sell duplicated or counterfeited bottles, where investors buy empty bottles from producers for a low price and sell fake ones for higher prices to the unsuspecting customers. Those with limited production or the ones held by collectors are at higher risk of duplicating.
Some brands provide unique tags or labels. E.g. Kodak Traceless system has tasteless, odourless markers on each bottle, which can be read-only using a proprietary scanner made by Kodak. Italy has systematic labelling where each label and seals on the bottles have labels that contain watermarks, holograms, unique registration numbers, and the number can be searched on websites. These holograms or markers resemble currency.
The buyers and collectors should have their own set of rules to identify the fake ones. There are many online reports and data which can be analysed before buying to invest in companies with a positive market reputation.
To find out more about fine wine investment, check 99 Alternatives at (http://www.99alternatives.com).
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