UK fraud prevention groups are warning individuals to be extra vigilant following a huge increase in the number of scams seeking to exploit the pandemic. As these scams increase in sophistication, we are all vulnerable. Fraudsters can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reminds consumers that like anything valuable, your pension or investments can become the target for illegal activities, scams or inappropriate investments. Scams can take many forms and often appear to be a legitimate investment opportunity.

We have pulled together a list of tips on how best to recognise and avoid a financial scam.

  • Reject offers that come out of the blue.
  • Check who you are dealing with before changing your pension arrangements or transferring money to another account.
  • Be wary of special offers and deals that sound too good to be true.
  • Never give out personal details and passwords.
  • Avoid the pressure to act quickly.
  • Do not click on links or open emails from senders you do not know.
  • Investment opportunities found through search engines are not necessarily authorised or regulated by the FCA.
  • Take time to make checks and seek financial guidance.
  • The FCA helpline is 0800 111 6768 and all investment and pension providers should be registered. Financial Management is registered as Philip Harper LLP and everyone should have a unique number – ours is 485423. Search for the FCA page via Google, do not click on a link within an email.

If you get cold-called, the safest thing to do is to hang up. If you receive unexpected offers by email or text, it’s best to simply ignore them. You can register with the Telephone Preference Service and Mailing Preference Service to reduce the number of letters and cold calls you receive. Callers may pretend they aren’t cold calling you by referring to a brochure or an email they sent you that’s why it’s important you know how to spot the other warning signs.

We are here to help If you are unsure about any financial approaches, please contact us first.

By Philip Harper  |  Aug 2020