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How to avoid scams in 2020

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You wouldn’t leave your front door wide open or leave your car keys in your ignition, unprotected, so why would you leave yourself open to financial theft?

It was reported that £1.2billion was stolen in 2018 through scams and fraud, and there was a 40% rise in the first half of 2019 year on year, showing that education is still needed to keep the general public’s finances safe.

We take a look at how you can protect your money and avoid scams in 2020.

Do your homework

Scammers aren’t the man on the local market trying to sell you a broken watch. They’re extremely sophisticated and have had plenty of practice conning people just like you.

Note down any company names they give you and ask for company registration number – every company has one. A quick Google search can tell you if it’s legitimate. You can also search for the company on the FCA’s Scam Smart website. This will allow you to see if the company has been marked as untrusted.

One way you can help prevent scammers from harming others is to report suspicious activity on the FCA’s Scam Smart website here.

Don’t share your personal details

If someone calls up and claims to know all about your finances, they don’t. It’s a tactic to raise concerns about your savings.

Make sure you never give personal details to strangers – even if they call from seemingly trusted sources. For example, your bank will never ask for your PIN or online banking logins.

Know the law

Did you know that since January 2019, it has been illegal for companies to cold call people about their pension?

If someone gets in touch to offer a free pension review or offers a pension investment, you have a few options.

Option one: Put the phone down and block the number. Doing this will end any chance of being scammed immediately. However, it doesn’t solve the problem as the scammer is still at large.

Option two: Speak enough to get the details of the company. Once you have the details, remind them that pension cold calling is illegal and end the conversation. Report the company via the FCA’s Scam Smart website.

While the ban is a positive step, it only applies to UK companies. So, since the ban, many cold-calling companies have moved abroad to continue their business and avoid legal action.

If it sounds too good to be true…

From planet-saving green schemes to a cheap room in paradise, you’ll never get what you paid for. These schemes are appealing due to the ‘get-rich-quick’ promises that don’t come to fruition. If you’re tempted, remember, down the line, you’ll be filled with regret and facing the loss of your life savings.

Checking your emails

If you aren’t sure if an email is legitimate, read through it closely. Scams are usually full of grammatical and spelling errors.

Check the sender too – scammers usually have a different format email to the company they’re claiming to be. For example, an email from PayPal would end in @paypal.com.

Scandals in 2019

We took a look at the biggest financial scandals of 2019 – click here to see what made the list!

Worried about scams?

If you feel that you may have fallen victim to an investment scam, all is not lost. Get in touch with our team today for a free consultation and we can advise on the next steps to take.