Financial hardship is spreading quickly and scammers are actively looking to take advantage of people’s hardships to get their money.
Although times are tough, it is crucial to take stock and prevent criminals from selling you questionable retirement products, insurance contracts or investments.
With the scammers scouring their sucker list and the dark web to exploit the increased fears and anxieties of businesses and individuals, we have described some of the key methods used by scammers to monitor insurance, pensions and investments.
This advice was provided by the Association of British Insurers and Canada Life, who warn that the scammers are “particularly opportunistic” and could seriously leave you out of your pocket …
Stop now: scammers are looking for your hard earned money and it’s time to stop them
1. Misleading contact of fake “insurance companies”
Vacations, weddings and flights have all been mass canceled, and insurance is at the forefront of many minds.
Many find it difficult to reach their real insurers to find out whether canceled events will be covered by their policy or not.
Needless to say, the scammers are too aware of this and will try to exploit the situation.
When stopped: holidays around the world have been canceled or reduced
Be extremely careful if you receive a text, phone call or e-mail from your real insurance company.
Criminals can wrongly pretend to be real big-name insurance companies and wrongly pretend that they can help people recover their losses.
The scammers might pretend that all you have to do is send them a simple complaint form.
Worried about insurance fraud?
If you are wary of insurance fraud, you can report it to the Insurance Fraud Office through their confidential “Cheatline” services on its website.
Fraudsters also come into contact with people who claim that their insurance policy has been canceled, but that you can have it reinstated if you pay extra fees over the phone.
In addition, the ABI says criminals could also try to use real insurance company branding logos and documents to promote false and, of course, invalid insurance policies, including products such as travel. and business disruptions believed to provide protection in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stephen Dalton, chief of intelligence and investigations at the Insurance Fraud Bureau, said: “Unfortunately, fraudsters are known to be particularly opportunistic in times of economic hardship, so it’s important that the public beware and do basic checks when from underwriting insurance services to help ensure they are authentic.
“Fraudsters can also exploit the situation to make fraudulent claims and the IFB’s investigations and intelligence analysts are actively working with the insurance industry and the police to identify them and protect the real insured and claimants. “
2. Doubtful pension crooks
There are a multitude of scams to watch out for regarding pensions, aimed at all age groups.
An important point to note is that it is illegal for companies to contact you unannounced about your pension.
If this happens to you, you should ignore the email, text message or phone call, explained ABI.
Where to look for help
Action Fraud: If you suspect fraud, report it to the UK National Fraud and Crime Reporting Center, Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.
The Pension Advisory Service: Provides free and impartial advice on pensions and tells you how to spot a scammer.
Pension Wise: people over 50 who wish to benefit from new pension freedoms can make an appointment in person or by phone with the government’s free referral service on 0800 802 1345, or call 44 20 3733 3495 if you live outside the UK.
Pension search service: some fraudsters will offer to help you find lost pensions, but the government will offer you free help. Be careful if you do an online search for the pension tracking service, as many companies using similar names will appear in the results. They will also suggest that you look for your pension, but try to charge or flog yourself for other services and could be fraudulent.
Criminals may claim that they can guarantee you a higher rate of return and a better outlook on your pension than the ones you currently get.
Alternatively, the ABI warns that criminals may also try to encourage you to withdraw a large part of your pension fund and invest it elsewhere.
This is something you should be very wary of.
“Seek advice, check out the ScamSmart website and be wary of unsolicited offers of” incredible returns on investment, “said Candada Life.
People under 55 should also be careful.
Taking money out of pensions before turning 55 is particularly dangerous, as the taxpayer imposes a heavy penalty on early withdrawals and the rest of your pension pot can then be lost in high-risk investments or stolen.
Regarding those under 55, experts at Canada Life said: “You can only withdraw money from your pension fund if you are under 55 in rare situations, for example if you are very sick, so always check with your pension provider. before making decisions.
Charlotte Jackson, head of pensions and consumer protection at Money and Pensions Service, said: “This is a very troubling time for everyone and the impact of coronavirus on the financial markets is adding to the stress.
“As difficult as it is, the most important thing is not to panic or rush to make decisions about your pension right now.
“We know the scammers will try to take advantage of the situation, so you should beware of any unexpected approach.” Before doing anything, it’s worth getting independent advice or guidance.
Late last month, the UK pension regulator signaled to suspend defined benefit transfers for three months.
But, to help protect those vulnerable to scammers while being in dire straits due to the coronavirus shutdown, former pension minister Ros Altmann believes a six-month freeze on pension transfers would be a best option.
3. Fraudsters and investment
Jobs are lost, wages are falling, interest rates on savings are extremely low and the stock markets are very volatile.
This toxic mixture means that many are desperate for more money and may be tempted to explore new ways to obtain it.
This is the case with fraudulent investment schemes, which often try to seduce victims with attractive but false returns.
HSBC revealed this week that its customers had lost more than £ 5.1 million to fraudulent investors between May 2019 and February 2020, with victims losing an average of £ 15,481 per case.
These scams involve everything from investing in something like wine, gold or foreign properties to stocks in oil or cryptocurrencies.
Investing in scams: it could mean anything, investing in something like wine, gold or overseas properties, stocks in petroleum or cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin
Many scammers in this area will also try to use pressure tactics to try to separate you from your money, saying, for example, that an investment offer will only be available for a limited period of time, while ‘They are also presented as a legitimate investment. suppliers
As with any scam, investment scammers will also contact you unexpectedly. This can be done by cold call, SMS, social media message, email or brochure. If you are contacted like that, ignore it.
Fraudsters may also tell you that you should remain silent about the investment opportunity they are offering and ask you not to tell anyone about it or seek appropriate financial advice about it.
If you make real investments, they will always be made through a company registered in the register of the Financial Conduct Authority.
It is a public registry of all regulated businesses and individuals in the financial services industry who are authorized to provide individuals with investment options or retirement platforms.
If the company is not on the list, do not part with any of your cash. And, even if they are on the list, study your options very carefully and seek appropriate financial advice.
Tips to Avoid Number Spoofing Scams
There has also been an increase in contacts with scammers, usurping the number of banks, the taxman and even the government.
It looks like a real message on a correspondence thread already received by SMS. Always be careful with this type of contact:
1. Do not click on any link and do not open an attachment on an unsolicited email or text message.
2. Don’t rely on the caller’s appearance on your phone or text messages – fraudsters can manipulate them. If the text seems to alert you to a real security issue, call the company on a trusted number.
3. Protect your computer and mobile devices with the latest security software
4. Do not transfer any funds unless you know and trust the person, and have verified in person that the details are correct and come from a reliable source.
5. Banks, police or organizations like HM Revenue & Customs will never contact customers or ask them to click on a link to provide information or transfer money to a “secure account”. If you get something like this, ignore it.
Metropolitan police warned people to be extremely vigilant against fraudsters at the moment
HM Revenue & Customs scams have also been discovered
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