4 warning signs of financial fraud

4 warning signs of financial fraud

With more of us than ever managing our finances online, being able to spot the signs of financial fraud is essential. So, before you make any quick decision that involves moving your money or signing up to a new service, take a step back and look out for these warning signs.

1. Being contacted out of the blue

This can be by phone, SMS or email. Watch out for unusual phone numbers or email addresses. Avoid clicking on any links in emails or texts, and giving out any information over the phone such as passwords or pin numbers.

If you think that a person isn’t who they say they are and is posing as another company, hang up, wait an hour and ring the company back using the official phone number on the website.

2. Time pressure

Fraudsters often use time pressure to make victims take a quick decision without thinking it through. For instance, they may give you a time sensentive offer or tell you that your service will be cancelled if you don’t pay a fee today. Take a breath, and check your records to see if that service really is up for renewal before making a payment.

3. Offers that are too good to be true

If someone is offering you something that is way better than anything else on the market, it could be fraud. Do your research, check if the company has an online presence and if they’re a financial services company, check the company is on the FCA Financial Services Register. Fraudsters have been known to make copycat websites of legitimate companies, so it's also worth fact checking the information on there and the website url. 

Top tip: Although all fraud cases are dealt with on a case by case basis, keeping evidence that you've made all the necessary checks before sending your money could help you get your money back. So, before moving any large sums of money, take screenshots of checking the corresponding numbers on the company website and the FCA Financial Services Register, and of any other precautionary checks you make. 

4. Being asked for money upfront

Sometimes, fraudsters will ask for money to complete a service before it’s been carried out. For some companies or industries, this can be standard practice. However, a key warning sign is if someone requests you bank transfer the payment or if a payment upfront seems unusual.

If you’re worried, don’t make the payment straight away. If it’s finance company, check that they’re registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) before moving any money. If not, do your research online first to make sure you're confident the company is legitimate before sending your money.

If you’re worried that you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud straight away. Their website also provides updates on the latest scams and the key things to look out for.

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