Top tips to avoid investment scams

Investment scams are on the rise, especially amongst older people. Research from The Financial Conduct Authority found that over 65’s with savings are most likely to be fraud victims. In fact, around £1.2bn is lost to investment fraud annually in the UK and that is only the amount reported. The actual amount defrauded by scammers is probably much higher.

Top tips to avoid investment scams

  • Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Set your browser to the highest level of security notification and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes
  • Be suspicious of any investment opportunity, which come to you via email, cold call or brochure
  • Beware of phishing emails. Banks and financial institutions will never send an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. If in any doubt, call your bank using the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, website (typed directly into the address bar) or the phone book to check if you’re not sure
  • Do not allow anyone to pressurise you into investing by telling you the offer will expire, it is a limited offer to a certain number of people, it is an offer unique to you etc.
  • Don’t accept repeated calls from companies or individuals. Just put the phone down. If it becomes persistent, buy a phone where you can block chosen call numbers
  • Don’t allow comapnies and individuals to use jargon to confuse you. Ask for clear explanations
  • Check their company details via Companies House
  • Check the FCA Warning List
  • When buying anything online, sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code. This involves registering a password with your card company and adds an additional layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.
  • If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for anything you haven’t bought, or from financial institutions you do not usually deal with, call your bank, as your identity may have been stolen
  • You can check your credit rating via Experian to ensure that there has been no credit fraud
  • Speak to family, friends and/or a financial adviser before agreeing to any investment
  • Never hand over a cheque and never, ever hand over cash

Remember, if the offer appears to be too good to be true, it is usually untrue, so don’t trust it

For more advice on safe investments, you can contact the Money Advice Service or the Citizens’ Advice .

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud, who can help you. Action Fraud deals with financial or online fraud in the UK. You can report a crime on behalf of a victim but only with their permission.

Don’t be ashamed to admit that you have been defrauded You must always report it, as you may get your money back and the perpetrators may be caught, so that they cannot defraud others.

 

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