How check if investment bond is genuine?

I have received an email, text copied below, advertising an NHS bond, claimed to protected by UK Treasury. Alarm bells ring because the email was unsolicited, and I received two copies a few hours apart and another a couple of days later, plus the enquire button linked to a website emiratessustainability.bmetrack. com which seems nothing to do with NHS. Also it says “Unwritten by Citibank, whic is either meaningless or a spelling mistake/typo.

Nevertheless, I requested further info, and received a phonecall purporting to be from Citibank, and follow up email with reply address accounts@citibondsuk. com, sender address appearing to be the same.

How can I check if a) the bond is genuine, b) the bond is really backed by UK Treasury and whether that means it is to all intents and purposes risk free, and c) if there is such a bond, whether the seller is genuine?

Text of email follows (links removed as they may contravene forum rules, and footnote blurb about NHS omitted).

Attention All Savers

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a climate of economic uncertainty and upended government finances. It has also brought new pressures to the NHS, which for years had already been running at – and sometimes beyond – full stretch. The effects will be felt in the NHS and wider public services for a long time.

Working with Investment Bank Citibank UK, We have been able to issue a bond with FSCS Protection please find key highlights below:

  • ISIN: GB0002404191
  • Fixed Rate 6% Per Annum
  • Protected by UK Treasury up to £1,000,000.00 per investor.
  • Unwritten by Citibank UK
  • FSCS Protection
  • 1 - 5 Year Terms Available
  • Joint Accounts Allowed

A scam. Indicators – all of it really:

NHS isn’t mandated to raise debt – probably > its constitution.
6% – really!
Why would HMG need an underwriter!
You got an e-mail!
…there’s far more…

A quick on-line search reveals there are variants doing the rounds.


Total scam. Alarm bells going off all over the place as @HappyListener said. Delete it/them and any others like it.



Well UK Government bonds are effectively risk free. They’ve never defaulted. Although it depends what sort of risk you are talking about

Obviously the thing above is a scam

p.s. I’d now be scrubbing my PC/lap-top for viruses and worse, as you may have visited an infected website.

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If you need advice on investing, go to a company that is registered with (and monitored and supervised by) The Financial Conduct Authority - assuming that you’re a UK resident.

Do NOT go near anything like this, which looks like a newspaper advert. You will have no recourse against anyone at all if your money goes ‘missing’.

An interesting question is how they set you up to pay any monies, as most bank OLB systems now have significant built-in warnings and payee matching validations (and it shouldn’t be easy for fraudsters to set up a recipient account - but it still goes on!) – and if you pay via debit/credit card, the merchant arrangements are also supposed to have been validated. Of course, the massive red flag would be if they asked you to send monies for the NHS offshore!

Many of these schemes end up with monies being remitted in to Eastern Europe, not so much India and/or Nigeria nowadays.

Although ‘unwritten’ (i.e. no involvement whatsoever let alone endorsement / guarantee) could correctly describe Citibank’s role here!

Allegedly some successful scammers include deliberate / obvious mistakes in their pitch to ward off more discerning investors, thereby sucking in only the most gullible punters.

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If someone knocked at your door trying to sell you this, would you sign up? I view unsolicited emails in the same manner.

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There is such a bond, it is a gilt issued by the government many years ago. Its running yield is 6%, but it costs more than £100 per £100 nominal. Allowing for the loss of capital over the next 6 years, its actual yield will be closer to 4%. E.g. if it costs £112 to get £6 interest for 6 years then a return of £100 in 2028.

I assume that including such verifiable details gives it the air of respectability. It is still a scam though, for the reasons others have given.

It doesn’t matter. It’s a fugging con, and the OP should have nothing to do with it.

There are (relatively) safe investments out there.

If the OP doesn’t have a financial adviser, he can find one. There are some very good ones out there.

I repeat: This is a con. Have nothing to do with it.

As was dinned into me at The College of Law, many years ago - ‘caveat emptor’, which translates as ‘let the buyer beware’.

No point in saying any more.

Thanks all for replying - you have all confirmed what I felt to be the case.

But how would one go about checking veracity? I did some internet searching and all I could find was that old one, which rang another alarm bell (though I omitted to mention), as I would have expected several financial news reports mentioning such an opportunity.

A check I thought of doing had I been coming to the conclusion it was fake would be contact Citibank head office direct, as surely they would know if it was a genuine offer, and would be well placed to advise if fake given use of their name. I also thought it might be possible to check with FSCS.

As for the ISIN number, is that meaningful, and might give a means of checking this type of thing? (How?)

Hopefully this thread might help anyone else receiving tge same or similar - and thanks to @Richard.Dane for changing the two references I included so no-one could accidentally trigger anything if their devices saw as links.

@HappyListener warned about a risk of virus because I had followed a link, however I did on an iPad, which is less vulnerable tgan a standard computer, and not by clicking on the link but copying and pasting into Duck Duck Go browser to minimise risk. I think the worst is probably that someone is aware I have possible funds I want to invest somewhere. (I don’t, but may have soon when a house sells, depending on options at the time).

I don’t have a financial adviser because I have nothing currently on which to advise, and have had nothing since a financial adviser embezzled what small funds there were 10 years ago, after another one had advised investing in a property deal that turned out to be a ponzi scheme, with subsequent prosecution, and likely only 1-2p in the pond payout when the Bankruptcy proceedings complete… Fortunately my workplace pension from the last half of my working life is protected and index linked.

Googling the ISIN number will show that there is a genuine stock, issued by the Debt Management Office. But be careful, the scammers want you to do a superficial check.

Virtually all unsolicited investment opportunities like this are scams.

I have many similar coming into my business email, but all go automatically into the junk folder, where they get deleted.

The scammers know that there are various real email providers, for example; “,”, so they send out tons of email variations to this and occasionally some to get to a real email address. Then wait for someone to respond to them.

Two things to remember;

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, then it’s a scam
  2. If you respond, you have just validated that email address, which will then be sold on and even more scam email will be sent.

If you want investment opportunities, then contact a FCA accredited company, as others have advised.


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Ok, my take and suggestions:

1- veracity – you cannot buy gilts directly, you’d need to buy through an intermediary e.g. a regulated/reputable broker/platform, and I’d recommend using an IFA (FCA reg’d) as a guide/consultant before considering any direct dealing via a platform/on-line broker, as you really need to understand what you are buying, and often the lingo/lexicon around bonds can confuse. Do your own due diligence on the IFA too e.g. get a recommendation from friends/check with FCA etc,.

2- the ISIN is useful in that it identifies what the instrument is and you can see its terms, respective yields etc on many 'sites. The ISIN cited here is a simple gilt, with no NHS branding. AFAIK, the only gilts with any branding were/are War Bonds.

The ISIN is just padding/misdirection adding to the pretence of validity.

3- All UK Sovereign debt is managed & issued through HMT and the DMO (Debt Management Office) – no 3rd party underwriters/other organisations are involved. There is no need for them to be. And the FSCS is irrelevant here!

I hear what you say your previous experience but if you aren’t financially aware about these things (and very few are TBH) and go solo, it can be the equivalent of walking backwards in to a minefield.

Some of these scams are quite clever but can be unpicked in seconds.

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I think it might have been better not to have clicked on that link. You appear to have supplied the scammers with your phone number and an e-mail address. Changing your passwords is a good idea especially if you use the same password for several sites. Your iPad can suggest hard to guess passwords. Use double authentication if possible especially if you buy things online. I hope you haven’t flagged yourself as a possible soft target, these people sell information or share it with each other. Take care with unsolicited mail and phone calls.

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If you need advice, you need a regulated independent financial advisor. This can be an individual, a small firm or via the larger investment platforms.

If you have money to invest but prefer to avoid advisors, you can use an investment platform and make your own decisions from your own research. This is the approach I take, mainly because I can tailor it to my own circumstances. I have used an IFA for specialist advice, but not for stock selection.

I would never invest based on unsolicited mail.

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I am so sorry to hear of your truly dreadful experiences at the hands of these criminals.

There’s an odd feeling that the creatures who commit financial crimes are in some way less deserving of blame than murderers, muggers or rapists.

I don’t agree. I used to deal professionally with the aftermath of horrendous fraud and outright thievery by the likes of BCCI, Robert Maxwell’s Mirror Group Newspapers, Asil Nadir (Polly Peck) and many others. I met them all. While Maxwell and Nadir were ostensibly charming, charismatic figures, captains of industry even, they were nothing more than thieves on a vast scale.

Pleasingly, Maxwell and Nadir were both financially ruined (as they had done to so many of their victims previously). Maxwell didn’t even have the balls to face up to his crimes, preferring to commit suicide by stepping off his boat in the middle of the Atlantic. Nadir ran away to (Turkish-controlled) Northern Cyprus whence he had come to embark on his career of crime.

They made my blood boil!

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