17th August 2017 at 6:00am
Millions of us are affected by financial scams every year and, as they become more and more sophisticated, it pays to know what to look out for.
Last year there were over 3.5m cases of fraud and 2m computer misuse offences, according to an official survey.
While online fraud is relatively common, scams can just as easily happen over the phone, by email, text, or face-to-face with fraudsters calling on people at home.
But don’t fret, we can help you spot the scammers and keep your savings safe.
What kind of scams are there?
Different kinds of fraud include phishing (an attempt to find out information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details), boiler rooms (where often non-existent shares are sold by high-pressure salespeople over the phone), identity theft, insurance and pension fraud.
Anything which looks or sounds too good to be true usually is, including those so-called unmissable ‘opportunities’ to invest money in land, property or wine.
Want to find out more about fine wine scams? Read our blog Investment fraud: Fine wine could be a vintage scam.
It can be tricky to stay savvy around the types of tricks criminals will use to catch you out. So, if you want to keep up-to-date on the most common scams out there and stay one step ahead of the fraudsters, take a look at Action Fraud’s news page.
Ways to make yourself scam proof
What can you do to keep as safe from scams as possible from scams? Sticking to a few golden rules helps:
- Keep your passwords and personal details private. Don’t share them with anyone, whether that’s online, over the phone or face-to-face.
- Shred or destroy any receipts with your bank details on them and any mail with your name and address on it
- Check your email accounts regularly, as hackers can target your accounts. Make sure your sent messages really are from you, and that all folders are ones you’ve created
- Don’t rely on a company’s marketing hype – be wary and do your own homework. Have you checked direct with industry body the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to see if the company involved is legitimate and regulated? Is it on its banned list?
- And if you’re being asked to consider investing a large sum of money, have you run it by a financial adviser if you have one?
- Last but not least, don’t allow yourself to be pressured if you are being asked to make a decision quickly. It’s likely to be a sales tactic.
Take a look at Action Fraud’s guide Protect yourself from fraud and cyber crime for some more information and extra tips on how to stay safe.
5 steps to take if you’re caught by scammers
If you think you may have fallen prey to a scam, there are a few things you can do to take back control:
- Stop sending any money to the company or person you suspect, cancel any payments, and contact your bank quickly to let them know if you’ve shared your bank or password details.
- Report the scam. Get in touch with Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or online.
- If you feel harassed in any way, don’t try to manage it on your own. Tell someone you trust and consider going to the police. Citizens Advice can help too.
- If it’s about a pension scam, contact your provider as soon as you can and let them know.
- Beware of clever follow-up scams. If you’ve been scammed you may be targeted by a different fraudster who claims they can help you get your money back. The scammers are likely to be part of the same organisation and will be very plausible. Don’t hand over any more money or you stand to lose more.
How to report fraud to Standard Life
If you get any emails supposedly from Standard Life which you are suspicious about, please get in touch. Forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Get in touch with us if you’re contacted by someone who you suspect may be a fraudster and is trying to target a Standard Life Product you hold.
We’re here to help, and will do all we can to help you keep your funds safe.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The links provided in this blog are for general information purposes only. Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information contained in the sites or for the sites not being available at all times.
The information here is based on our understanding in August 2017. The information in this blog or any response to comments should not be regarded as financial advice.