Following the stock market has become a bit of a national obsession. Those of us with pension schemes, endowments, insurance etc have begun to realise how it can affect our lives. Like any industry where there are clients with disposable incomes available, the stock market can also become an opportunity for scam-artists to thrive.

Boiler Rooms are call-centres, set up to sell worthless shares in companies. Even experienced investors can find themselves at the mercy of clever and highly plausible sales people offering bogus shares. They use cold-calling as their first method of approach, with highly trained sales staff available to answer any question that you may have as a potential investor. Professionally manned websites and telephone lines, all add to the illusion of legitimacy.

Anyone selling financial products in Britain, has to be regulated by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) and this should be your first point of call if you have any doubts. The FSA can be contacted online at or by telephone on 0207 066 1000.

To check if the company exists that you are considering investing in, most are registered with Companies House, available online at or by telephone on 0870 3333 636.