Spot the signs of financial crime

Explore our top tips to avoid becoming a victim of a financial crime

How to avoid becoming a victim of financial crime

While it can be a difficult and confusing time planning for your financial future, it's important to understand how and where fraud can occur, so you can limit the stresses you may face. We've put together some top tips to help you protect yourself from fraud and to stay safe online.

Pension scams and investment fraud

Once you understand the different types of pension scams and investment fraud you can better protect yourself from becoming a victim.

  • Hang up if you have concerns straight away. If you receive a cold call, the safest thing to do is to hang up, as chances are it's a scam.
  • Make sure you're aware of the warning signs. This includes unsolicited approaches by phone, text, email or even at your door.
  • Can you call the firm back? If you're forced to make a quick decision this is a sign of a potential scam. Or contact details on their website may only be mobile numbers which is another red flag.
  • Understand the salesperson. Check whether the caller, or their firm, is licensed to sell. Check the FCA register of regulated companies, or the FCA warning list.
  • Make sure you ask questions. Most scammers don't want you to investigate their 'offers' so make sure to do your own research and look into the company, including their financial statements.
  • And remember, if it sounds too good to be true - it probably is. Fraudsters like to offer low risk investments with a high return!

Insurance fraud

Once you understand the different types of insurance fraud you can better protect yourself from becoming a victim.

How to avoid Insurance fraud:
  • Beware of adverts on free classified websites - often they'll only give a mobile number and first name to contact for a quote. It's also common for communication to be by text or free messaging services or apps, like Blackberry Messenger or WhatsApp.
  • Watch out for cash payments - most legitimate insurers and brokers won't accept cash or bank transfers.
  • Check your documentation - legitimate insurers or brokers will send you insurance certificates and a policy booklet.

How to protect yourself online

Keeping yourself secure online is essential to protecting your personal identity and finances. Being the victim of a cyber-attack could lead to damage of your reputation, being locked out of your own email account, having money stolen and even having your identity stolen.

You can stay secure online by following some top tips:
  • Use a strong, separate password for your email account. A good way to create a strong and memorable password is to use three random words.
  • Install the latest software and app updates. They contain vital security updates which help protect your device from viruses and hackers.
  • Never click on suspicious links or attachments and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
  • Destroy, and preferably shred, any receipts that show your card details and any post where you can clearly see your name and address.
  • Many frauds start with a phishing email. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine. You can always 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.

For more information on how to stay secure online, visit Cyber Aware.