Across the UK, there has been an alarming increase in the prevalence of various types of scams. Whether door to door, over the phone or via email, criminals are finding increasingly smarter ways to con people out of their money or personal information and research shows that 53% of people aged 65+ believed they have been targeted by fraudsters.Therefore, it is important that basic precautionary advice and helplines for those who think they may have been subjected to a form of fraud, are available.
If you think you have been the victim of a scam or you suspect that a fraud has been committed, you are advised to contact Action Fraud (0300 123 2040) and/ or the police immediately and before contacting any other support services listed below.
Guidance from the KnowFraud campaign launched by the British Banking Association. Here are 8 things your bank will never ask you to do:
- Call or email to ask you for your full PIN number or any online banking passwords
- Send someone to your home to collect cash, bank cards or anything else
- Ask you to email or text personal or banking information
- Send an email with a link to a page which asks you to enter your online banking log-in details
- Ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account or hand over cash
- Call to advise you to buy diamonds or land or other commodities
- Ask you to carry out a test transaction online
- Provide banking services through any mobile apps other than the bank’s official apps
The Pension Regulator has also issued the following guidance for business advisers, trustees and individuals regarding pensions scams. The ten steps it says people should take to protect themselves are:
1. Be wary of cold calls and unsolicited texts or emails Scammers will often claim they’re from Pension Wise or other government-backed bodies. These organisations would never phone or text to offer a pension review.
2. Check everything for yourself People have fallen for scams because they’d been ‘recommended by a friend’. Do your homework, even if you consider yourself to be financially savvy – false confidence can lead to getting stung.
3. Make sure your advisers is on the Financial Conduct Authority approved register Pensions scammers may pose as financial advisers. Check to make sure yours is registered on the FCA website.
4. Check the FCA’s list of known scams Visit the FCA’s scamsmart to see if the deal you’re being offered is a known scam.
5. Steer clear of overseas investment deals Well-known scams include unregulated investment in a hotel, vineyard or other overseas opportunities, and where your money is all in one place – and therefore more at risk.
6. Don’t fall for guaranteed returns of professional looking websites or brochures You can never guarantee returns on an investment, and anyone can create a smart website or brochure these days. Question everything, however credible it sounds or looks.
7. Don’t be rushed into a decision Scammers will try to pressure you with 'time limited offers' or send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents. Take your time to make all the checks you need - even if this means turning down an 'amazing' deal.
8. If you're aged 50 or over and have a DC pension, talk to Pension Wise Pension Wise is there to help you investigate your retirement options. Visit the Pension Wise website for more information (and to check what kind of pension you have).
9. Ask The Pensions Advisory Service for help if you have doubts You can call them on 0300 123 1047 or visit the TPAS website for free pensions advice and information.
10. Contact your provider and call Action Fraud if you've already signed and think you've been scammed If you've already signed something you're now unsure about, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and contact your pension provider immediately. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn't taken place yet.
The UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime and, along with the police, would usually be the first port of call for anyone wishing to report a suspected scam. Action Fraud also operates a specific service for those who wish to make a report on behalf of a particularly vulnerable victim.
Telephone contact: 0300 123 2040
Citizens Advice Bureau (and Trading Standards):
All consumer scams should be reported to Trading Standards (via Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 03454 04 05 06)
Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice on everyone's rights and responsibilities. You may have money, benefit, housing, relationship or employment problems. You may be facing a crisis, or just considering your options. Whatever problem you face, they'l help you find a way forward. CAB provide free advice to everyone at our offices. No appointments are necessary, just call in and see us or contact us by phone or email.
Bury St Edmunds CAB (West Suffolk)
Telephone contact: 01284 753675
West Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau
Bury St Edmunds
Stowmarket CAB (Mid Suffolk):
Telephone contact: 01449 676060
Mid Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau
5 Milton Road South
This gives consumers tips on how to spot the techniques used by fraudsters and hosts the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Warning List which is a list of firms and individuals that the FCA knows are operating without its authorisation.