Although an ever-increasing problem, the threat of financial scams has been particularly high on the news agenda in recent weeks:
- According to a new report from Canada Life, 5.2 million people had been victims of financial scams or knew a victim since the Coronovirus outbreak started.
- Research from pension consultants Pension Bee revealed that two-thirds of 500 adults surveyed in April were unlikely to spot many pension scams.
- Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab issued a stark warning in early May, highlighting that cyber criminals were using Covid-19 related scams and phishing emails.
- Both the Investment Association and the Financial Conduct Authority have both issued warnings of the danger of “heightened criminal activity”.
This all sounds scary, but it doesn’t need to be. Here are just a few tips to keep your information and data secure:
Spotting a scam: It might be a scam if:
- It seems too good to be true, for example, a “bargain holiday”
- Unexpected contact from someone you don’t know
- Be sure you’re dealing with a real company – check they have a postal address
- They ask you to transfer money quickly
- They ask you to pay in an unusual way, for example in vouchers or via money transfer services
- You’re asked to give personal information
- You don’t receive any written confirmation of what’s agreed
Passwords: You should review and strengthen passwords that you use for logging onto remote resources, such as email or work applications. You might consider using a password manager and/or two factor authentication.
Be careful about giving away personal information: Don’t give away personal information freely. If you’re asked for information like your first school or your National Insurance number with no legitimate reason, this could be used to hack accounts. Check they’re legitimate.
Be phishing-aware: Be wary of clicking on links which look in any way suspicious, and only download content from reliable sources that can be verified.
Wi-fi: Does your home wi-fi network have a strong password, or is it open? Password-protect your network against anyone within range being able to access and connect to the network.
To keep abreast of current scams, you can sign up to alerts on the Action Fraud website. As the saying goes “forewarned is forearmed”.
With this in mind (and I’ve mentioned this briefly before), we’re looking at ways we can transfer data even more securely between you and us and we’re currently testing our new client portal. There’ll be more news to follow very, very shortly. We’re getting really quite excited! If you’d like to register now, please just contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, we’ll be in contact with you as we roll this out over the coming weeks.
As always, if you need anything at all, have any concerns, or just need a friendly ear, we’re here to help. Please just call or email.
In the meantime, we’re hoping you’re all keeping safe and well.
Best wishes from Nicola and all the team at Jane Smith Financial Planning Ltd