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Protecting your finances – how to stay safe from scammers

Planning & protection

23 May 2023

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The rise of digital communication and the internet has brought huge benefits to our lives, with almost anything available at the click of a button, but unfortunately it has also made it easier for scammers to target unsuspecting victims.

This is a real concern for many individuals which has been brought to light following the results of Fairstone’s annual client survey.

In the survey, respondents were asked: “If there was anything that would keep you awake at night with worry regarding your finances and/or investments, what would it be?”, results show ‘scammers’ and ‘financial fraud’ as a common theme.

Fairstone adviser, Paul Telford, provides tips on how to protect yourself from scammers and financial fraud:

1) Be cautious of unsolicited communications

Scammers often use unsolicited communications to target individuals. This can include phone calls, emails, and text messages. Be very cautious of any unsolicited communication that asks for your personal information or financial details.

Don’t respond to emails or calls from unknown sources, and never click on links or download attachments from unknown senders. A good tip is to click on the email address of the sender and check this with the contact details on the company website, or directly with the sender via a different communication method.

 

2) Verify the legitimacy of a company

Before you provide any personal information or financial details, make sure the company or organisation is legitimate. Check their website, social media presence, and reviews from other customers. Look for contact information, including a phone number and physical address, and verify it. If the company is not well-known, do some research to see if it is registered with relevant regulatory bodies.

 

3) Protect your personal information

Scammers can use your personal information to steal your identity and access your financial accounts. Protect your personal information by not sharing it with anyone you don’t trust. Never share your passwords or login details with anyone, and use strong passwords that are difficult to guess. Never share your personal information, online or in response to unsolicited calls or emails.

 

4) Monitor your financial accounts regularly

Monitoring your financial accounts regularly can help you spot any unauthorised transactions or suspicious activity. Check your bank and credit card statements often, and report any suspicious activity to your bank or building society immediately. Sign up for alerts, such as text or email notifications, to alert you to any unusual activity on your accounts.

 

5) Be sceptical of high return, low risk investment opportunities

Investment fraud is a common type of financial scam. Be sceptical of any investment opportunity, especially short term, that promises high returns with little risk, and only take advice from an independent financial adviser, who is regulated by the FCA.

 

6) Stay up-to-date on the latest scams

Scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to target individuals. Stay up-to-date on the latest scams by following reputable news sources. Age UK offers a useful resource with updates on scams and advice on how to protect yourself. The charity also offers a scams prevention and victim support service.

Find out more at:

www.ageuk.org.uk/barnet/our-services/latest-scams/

 

If in doubt, speak to your financial adviser about any concerns you may have

Your adviser is here to protect your finances and keep your assets safe. Remember, anyone can fall victim to financial fraud, and there is absolutely no shame for those victims, so if you happen to find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you believe you have been scammed, please speak up as soon as possible.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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