In a recent survey, by ActionFraud two in five people said they were the victim of financial fraud, which serves as an important reminder to us all that we need to be ever vigilant.
We’re not talking small amounts either, nearly half of those who had been a victim of financial fraud lost more than £500 and the average amount lost was £774!
could you spot a financial fraud if you saw one?
Many people do, but it can be easy to be fooled and fraudsters come up with ever inventive ways to get their hand on your money.
Current popular scams include, for example, the Carbon Credit scam. Carbon credit is the right to emit one tonne of Carbon Dioxide and investors trade this right for money.
However, scammers use high pressure sales tactics to sell to vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, credits which are either worthless, completely inflated in price or far too complex to trade.
Parminder Dhothar, Intelligence and Investigations Manager for Phoenix Group, said: “Our research shows that education is needed to protect consumers from financial fraud. There is still a lack of understanding and people can lose their life savings through scams.
“Many people are not aware of who to report fraud to, or where to get advice to help them make the right investment decisions, which makes it even more important to raise awareness of the issue and ensure consumers are adequately protected.”
5 ways to avoid being a fraud victim
Dhothar offers five top tips to help us all avoid becoming victims of fraudsters:
1) Don’t be pressured into making a quick decision – this often leads to poor decisions.
2) Think about how you were contacted. Is it the way the company would normally contact you? Is there a reason for them contacting you this way?
3) Are they asking you to pay upfront? If so, be suspicious – you should never have to pay to access funds that belong to you.
4) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Even if it is not obviously suspicious, still think through the potential risks.
5) If unsure, you can call the Consumer Direct helpline on 0845 404 0506 for advice or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk. To report suspected fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.
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