Several institutions, including the Bank of England, the National Crime Agency and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have warned consumers to be particularly vigilant about scams in the current climate of uncertainty. These warnings follow an increase in incidences in the last few months, with scammers often targeting the most vulnerable people, such as those under financial pressure, perhaps having lost jobs or been furloughed.
Recent research1 found 5.2m people in the UK had fallen victim to, or knew someone who had been duped by, a financial scam, since the beginning of the pandemic.
The most common financial scam involved banking, accounting for 60% of victims. A further 35% had been targeted by an insurance scam and one in five consumers reported having been targeted by a pension scam, often through fraudsters offering free pension reviews.
Scams can have a significant financial impact – according to the research, victims lost on average, £566 per scam. Having been a victim is also likely to result in people suffering more than just a financial impact – more than half of respondents (55%) agreed that it had impacted their mental health.
The government has provided guidance detailing how consumers can protect themselves from fraud. This guidance includes checking the company’s credentials via a reliable source such as the FCA’s Financial Services Register, being wary of deals that sound too good to be true, not giving out personal details, not clicking on links from unknown senders and seeking professional financial advice before making any decisions. The official advice can be found here www.gov.uk/government/news/be-vigilant-against-coronavirus-scams
How to be a scam-smart investor
The FCA also has an online scam checker where you can check a pension or investment opportunity – this can be found here www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart
Helping you to stay safe
In times of uncertainty, when we may be under more financial pressure, we can be more stressed and anxious, making us more vulnerable to fall victim to scams. If you are unsure about any financial opportunities that come your way, please contact us before you act on any approaches. Rest assured, we are here to help you.
1 Canada Life