William Hill PLC shareholders are advised to be cautious about any unsolicited financial advice, offers to buy shares at a discount or offers of free company reports.

“Boiler room” scams

It has been brought to our attention that our shareholders are being contacted by someone purporting to be from a US investment firm offering to buy William Hill shares. We do not consider this to be a legitimate approach and would advise shareholders to remain vigilant at all times. Please see the warning below for further information on what should do if you receive any unsolicited investment advice.

If you have any queries, please e-mail ir@williamhill.co.uk.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recently reported a dramatic rise in the number of enquiries they have received relating to share scams. The "boiler room" scam has developed over recent years and there has been an increase in reports of overseas fraudsters contacting shareholders to sell and buy shares using the names, registration numbers and addresses of authorised firms and individuals in an attempt to convince consumers of their legitimacy.

Different types of scams

  • Offers to buy shares you already hold, often at a higher price than their market value.
  • Encouragement to sell your blue chip shares in banks and financial institutions to invest in green or high technology shares marketed by the boiler rooms.
  • Offers to buy shares in US companies that turn out to be "Regulation S" (or Rule 144) shares ie they can only be sold to non-US citizens, and often have other limitations.
  • Offers of help from "recovery rooms" who offer assistance to those defrauded by boiler rooms. They approach victims of boiler room fraud and, for an upfront fee, promise to review their case and obtain reimbursement from a European Court fund or other legal avenue.

Avoid becoming a victim of fraud

  • Keep in mind that firms authorised by the FCA are unlikely to contact you out of the blue with an offer to buy or sell shares.
  • Do not get into a conversation, note the name of the person and firm contacting you and then end the call.
  • Check the Financial Services Register from www.fca.org.uk to see if the person and firm contacting you is authorised by the FCA.
  • Beware of fraudsters claiming to be from an authorised firm, copying its website or giving you false contact details.
  • Use the firm’s contact details listed on the Register if you want to call it back.
  • Call the FCA on 0800 111 6768 if the firm does not have contact details on the Register or you are told they are out of date.
  • Search the list of unauthorised firms to avoid at www.fca.org.uk/scams.
  • Consider that if you buy or sell shares from an unauthorised firm you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
  • Think about getting independent financial and professional advice before you hand over any money.
  • Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

If you are approached by fraudsters please tell the FCA using the share fraud reporting form at www.fca.org.uk/scams, where you can find out more about investment scams. You can also call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768. If you have already paid money to share fraudsters you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.