Protect yourself from being scammed
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Beware of Financial Scams
- More than £1billion is completely lost to investment scams in the UK every year.
- Scammers and fraudsters will often target experienced investors (source: FCA).
- The number of financial scams is increasing, particularly following the introduction of the new pension freedoms.
- The average loss for pension scams is over £90,000 (source: FCA) â€“ with little or no prospect of getting this money back.
- Scams are not always easy to spot.
- Fraudsters are usually articulate and appear financially knowledgeable.
- They may have credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.
- People offering high risk investments or scams will often call you uninvited (known as a 'cold call').
- Regulated firms are very unlikely to contact you in this way about any investment opportunities.
You can protect yourself by:
- Rejecting all and any unsolicited calls.
- Check the FCA Warning List at www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart
- Almost all financial services firms must be authorised by the FCA - if they are not, it is probably a scam.
- Check at register.fca.org.uk to see if a firm or individual is authorised or registered with the FCA.
- Access the Register from register.fca.org.uk rather than through links in emails or on the website of a firm offering you an investment.
- Check if the firmâ€™s 'firm reference number' (FRN) and contact details are the same as on our Register.
- Contact us regarding any financial 'opportunity' you are offered - we can usually check to see if it is legitimate.
- Being very wary of any offers of a 'free review' of your finances and/or pensions â€“ advice by any professional is unlikely to be free.
It is now illegal for any firm to 'cold call' you about your pensions. If contacted by someone other than your own adviser firm offering to review your pension plans is almost certainly an attempt to steal your pension money. Do not provide any information or be tempted by may what appear to be high returns or special terms. Some of these scams may cause the loss of most if not all of your pension fund and leave you with a large tax bill to pay (even if the fund has gone).
The tax office will never phone you directly unless you have arranged for them to do so. If you do get a call that you were not expecting purporting to be HMRC (the subject used is usually a tax refund or tax owing, court proceedings, demanding payments and/or for details of your bank or tax account) this is not genuine.
State Pension Department for Work & Pensions (DWP)
DWP will not call you directly regarding the annual state pension increase - If you get a call you were not expecting, purporting to be from DWP this is not genuine.
If you receive a call from someone that you do not know about you, your money, pensions, investments, bank accounts etc, or an unexpected call from the Police, Tax Office, DWP, the Bank etc, do not give them or confirm any personal or financial information - The safest thing to do is just hang up. Do not reply to any such e-mails - ignore them.