Fraud and financial scams in the age of coronavirus

Fraud and financial scams are nothing new, although it does feel like they are on the rise and becoming harder for the average person to detect. In June 2019, the Crime Survey for England & Wales (CSEW) reported nearly 4 million fraud offences against adults in the year ending March 2019.

People of all ages and backgrounds can fall victim to financial scams. However, it is our elderly community who are identified as most at risk from fraudsters. It is believed that they are more frequently targeted based on their circumstances. For example, their age or health issues (such as dementia) may make them more vulnerable. It may also be because they are bereaved or lonely. For anyone who falls victim to a financial scam, the effects both financially and emotionally can be devastating.

The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that many more people have been left feeling financially vulnerable or in a precarious financial situation. People have faced uncertainty as a result of the virus. They may be experiencing wage cuts, redundancies and stock market falls affecting pension values. This has meant that scammers have been able to take advantage of a wider pool of potential victims than ever before.

Many financial scams these days are very convincing. Scammers now utilize every aspect of technology available to them. As a result, it’s sometimes hard to know what is legitimate and what is a scam. One area which is particularly targeted by scammers is around pensions. You may have heard a lot recently about pension scams in the media. One way to protect yourself from potential scams is to make sure that any firm you use is regulated and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

How to spot pension scams and stop them!

  • Scammers usually contact people out of the blue via phone, email or text. When you receive any communication purporting to be from a pension provider, do check the origin eg by checking the telephone number or email headers.
  • Scammers often use attractive offers to convince their victims to part with their money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! If they ask you to transfer or release funds then this is a red flag and a way for them to gain access to, and steal, your money.

Telltale signs of scams

These are some classic signs to look out for in order to avoid pension scams:

  • Guarantees that they can get you higher returns on your pension savings than your current provider
  • Offers to release cash from your pension before you turn 55
  • High pressure sales tactics. Reputable financial services firms have a code of conduct to follow which means they are not allowed to carry out this practice.

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True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners are an award-winning firm of Independent Financial Advisers. We have a passion for using our expertise to make sure your finances work for you. We are FCA registered for your peace of mind.

To speak to us about any aspect of Retirement or Financial Planning please Contact Us.