Protecting your financial future
Scammers know you might be considering your savings and investments at the moment.
Low interest rates and market uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic could be unsettling if you're thinking about your future, perhaps even planning for retirement. Scammers know that you might be considering your savings and investments at the moment, trying to make the most of your money.
Just as we're being asked to 'stay alert' when it comes to managing the spread of coronavirus in the UK, it's wise to follow the same advice when it comes to managing your finances. Unfortunately, major events like the current pandemic often provide just the opportunity scammers are looking for.
You could fall victim to a scam in many ways. A text message appearing to be from your bank might convince you to transfer money to another account, or you might be asked to pay a fee to 'unlock' a large amount of compensation that simply doesn't exist. Sometimes these people even impersonate FSCS and use our logo.
It might be that a scam only leaves you a few pounds out of pocket and causes embarrassment more than anything else. But, if you're thinking about moving investments or pension pots, you might be putting your life savings at risk and the impact could be devastating.
What to look out for
Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. Sometimes there are 'red flags' that are easy to spot - like poor spelling and grammar - but that's not always the case.
When it comes to investments, here are a few things to look out for:
- Being offered returns or interest rates that seem too good to be true - you might see something online, in an email or get a phone call.
- Someone you don't know getting in touch out of the blue - they might know details about your current investments or pension which makes them seem genuine.
- Being rushed into making a decision - you might be told that something is a 'limited offer' or that you have to sign up right now to get the rate you've been promised.
Sometimes, customers contact us directly and show us things that don't look right. We share anything we learn with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other relevant authorities, taking action ourselves if we can.
James Darbyshire is FSCS' general counsel and fraud officer. He's committed to protecting consumers from online scams.
James says: "We're definitely seeing scams becoming more and more convincing. Recently, we had someone tell us that an investment opportunity they were looking at gave them a letter claiming to be from FSCS, confirming that their investment would be protected up to £85,000 if something went wrong. The letter was fake, but it looked very real. Scammers can easily find company logos and staff details online to help convince consumers - so it's really important that investors and savers check that they're dealing with a real business offering protected products."
Where to go for help and advice
Even if nothing is worrying you, it's better to be safe than sorry. If you're thinking about using the services of a provider or financial adviser, always check the FCA register to make sure they're authorised to carry out the activity in the UK. The register has been revamped recently, and there's a useful video and guidance on the page to help you use it.
If you're thinking about investing your money or making changes to your pension, then ScamSmart is there to help you avoid scams. You might have heard their adverts on the radio or seen them on TV this summer, and the site contains plenty of information on what to look out for.
For free and impartial advice on all money and pensions matters, the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) is available online, over the phone, or even via WhatsApp.
Latest News from
FSCS makes two appointments to its Executive Board14/10/2020 15:48:00
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has made two new appointments to its Executive Team.
East West Insurance Company Ltd enters administration13/10/2020 14:10:00
East West Insurance Company Ltd (“EWIC”), a UK-based insurance company, entered administration on 12 October 2020.
Full recovery: FSCS closes the book on the 2008 banking crisis22/09/2020 10:25:00
Twelve years on, we've just received the final recovery payment from the 2008 banking crisis through the administration of Heritable Bank.
What if my bank just exists online?18/09/2020 10:25:00
FSCS protects your money held in all authorised UK banks, even if they don't have any branches.
Ask these key questions to make sure your money is protected07/09/2020 14:20:00
Blog posted by: Jess Spiers, 04 September 2020, Protection.
FSCS Temporary High Balance coverage extended05/08/2020 12:25:00
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme’s (FSCS) Temporary High Balance (THB) protection for deposits of up to £1m will be temporarily extended from six to 12 months for deposit-taker failures occurring from this Thursday, 6 August 2020.
FSCS adds further strength to its Board with three Non-Executive Director appointments30/07/2020 12:25:00
Mr Marshall Bailey OBE, Chair of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) yesterday announced the appointment of three new Non-Executive Directors to the FSCS Board.
FSCS enables 18,000 SVS Securities clients to have access to their money and assets27/07/2020 12:25:00
Around 18,000 former clients of wealth management firm SVS Securities plc can begin to access their money and assets from the new nominated broker ITI Capital Ltd as of friday (24 July 2020).