A report published by The Police Foundation this month has claimed that £2 trillion of pension money is at risk of scams.[i]
It also found that an average of £91,000 was lost by victims of pension scams, with some losing as much as £1 million.
The shocking reality behind these numbers is that no one is immune to the sophisticated practices of today’s financial scammers. From those with very little money to spare to experienced and wealthy investors, it seems everyone is a target. And it’s not just pension money that is being stolen. People are being conned into investing large sums of money in bogus investment opportunities, and others are persuaded to give their bank account details, allowing scammers to access their money.
What is the industry doing to protect customers?
The industry regulator - The Financial Conduct Authority – has become increasingly concerned about the escalating number of reported scams and the devastating impact they are having on their victims. They recently ran a high-profile awareness campaign, and they are also putting the onus on banks and pension and investment companies to be vigilant when customers request to transfer or re-invest their money. If you find yourself challenged on a financial transaction, please don’t be offended. The company you are dealing with is probably being diligent to protect you.
How Sanlam can help
If you are tempted to respond to an unsolicited communication about your finances, or you are seeking to make your own investment without the help of your portfolio manager or wealth planner, please do get in touch. Even if we are not involved in your decision, we will always be happy to check over any communication you have received and can also carry out a background check on any investment company. It’s all part of the service.
In the meantime, remember NEVER to give out personal details over the phone or on email – even if you think it’s your bank. You can always call them back to check it was them in the first place.
For more information on scams, and how to avoid them, please visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart.