When you think of scams, it’s easy to assume you would be able to spot one a mile off, but as technology advances, financial scams are becoming more sophisticated. They are no longer restricted to emails claiming you’re due to inherit large sums of money or requesting financial support from a long lost relative. These fraudulent schemes are designed to look and sound legitimate.
The recent outbreak of coronavirus has led to a spike in financial scams, so here are a few tips for protecting yourself against scammers.
1. Check the FCA Register
You can search the FCA register to check that a company is registered and see their credentials. If a company is not registered, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsmen Service, or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.
2. Ask questions
We do not operate under any third parties. If you are contacted by any company claiming to be affiliated with an FCA-registered firm, you should always check this on the FCA register before proceeding. If you’re still in doubt, you can always contact the supposed affiliated company for confirmation.
3. Verify who is contacting you
If you receive a call or email asking for personal information of any kind that you were not expecting, don’t share it. It is very rare for a legitimate company to ask you to share bank details over the phone or via email (banks will take several steps to confirm your identity before discussing your accounts). You should:
- End the call and try calling them back using the number on their website – any reputable company won’t mind.
- Check the email address that the request was sent from. You can check the legitimacy on the company’s website. A common technique used by scammers, is sending emails that appear to be from companies such as TV Licensing UK asking for your bank details. A quick check of the sender’s email address and profile image will usually reveal a personal email address and a stock image.
4. Don’t rush
If there is a time limit, or you are being encouraged to move quickly, this is a red flag. Scammers will often pressure you, so that you don’t have time to look make a considered decision or do your research on the company. This pressure won’t always be obvious, there’s often a lot of charm involved, so be aware and have a natural level of suspicion! Remember, no reputable company will ever pressure you to make any financial decisions.
5. Check reviews
Take a look at review sites such as Trustpilot, and tread very carefully if they don’t feature anywhere. The experience of others is a good indicator as to how a company operates and looks after their customers.
6. Test out their customer support
Before you commit to a company, try out their support channels. You can tell a lot about a company by the way they support their customers, and you don’t want to be caught out by a bogus support number which is never answered.
When it comes to your money, there’s no room for doubt. It is always worth doing your research before making financial commitments of any kind. When it comes to protecting yourself against financial scams, the FCA’s ScamSmart initiative is a really useful tool that can help you understand whether an investment or financial opportunity that you have been offered is legitimate.
We are always here to support you, so if you have any questions, please reach out to our support team.