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.

Investment and pension fraud

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

  • Hang-up if you recognise it straight-away - If you get cold-called, the safest thing to do is to hang up, as chances are the investment is very risky or a scam.
  • Be aware of the warning signs - Make sure you're aware of the signs, including unsolicited approaches by phone, text, email or even at your door. Also when you can't call a firm back, if you're forced to make a quick decision or contact details on their website are only mobile numbers.
  • Understand the salesperson - Check whether they or their firms are 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 in life is important, whether through life insurance to protect your family or home insurance to protect your possessions. In the same way, 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 receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on.
  • 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.