It's important to be able to recognise fraudulent behaviour and schemes. Remaining vigilant and alert to these threats will help keep your investments and cash safe. On this page we highlight some of the most common scams that you should to be aware of.
Identity fraud occurs when your personal details are used without your knowledge to open accounts and apply for services. In a lot of cases, fraudsters will only need your full name, date of birth and address, which they can obtain in a number of ways, such as taking documents from your rubbish or contacting you and posing as a legitimate organisation. Remember, your identity and personal information are highly valuable assets that you should keep safe and secure. One way to do this is to shred any sensitive documents before throwing them away.
Phishing communications are emails, calls, text or social media communications that look as though they have been sent by a genuine sender and are intended to trick you into inadvertently disclosing your confidential information to fraudsters. This can happen when you respond to the fake email or message, open an attachment (which can upload malware or a virus onto your device), or click on any links which take you to spoofed websites. Be very wary of any communication that pressures you into acting quickly, or asks for confidential information. Also remember not to click on links or open attachments from unverified sources, especially where the communication was unexpected.
Investment scams, often called ‘Boiler Rooms’ due to the high pressure tactics involved, are characterised by unexpected contact with an offer to invest into a scheme, investment or product that is either fictitious or completely worthless.
Scams like this have moved on from cold calling, with fraudsters now increasingly targeting people online via email, professional looking websites and social media. Although the approach may have changed, the basic tactics are still the same – to part you from your hard earned money.
Spot an investment scam by looking out for the following warning signs:
Beware of unexpected contact – reject any unsolicited investment offers, no matter how it’s received.
Time pressure – look out for pressure tactics designed to rush you into making a decision, such as a bonus or discount if you take action before a certain date.
- Unrealistic returns – fraudsters will use tempting returns to encourage you to invest. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Question their credibility – they may have a professional looking website or promotional literature, but fraudsters can use fake reviews or testimonials to claim other people have invested with them.
- Research - before investing, always carry out your own research and check the FCA Register to make sure the individual or firm you’re dealing with is authorised by the FCA to carry out investment activity, and check their warning list of firms to avoid as well.
In a pension scam, scammers try to persuade you to transfer your pension, or tempt you with offers to help release cash from your pension early. They may also promise you a payment outside of your pension to encourage you to part with your hard-earned retirement savings. Another tactic they may use is to try to convince you to invest your pension into a unique, yet unusual, high-risk investment.
Like Investment Scams, contact often comes out of the blue, either by phone, email or social media. It could even come from a family member who’s already been a victim.
Help to protect yourself by rejecting any unsolicited contact about your pension; especially anyone that offers a “free pension review”. We recommend that you consider taking independent advice from an FCA regulated financial advisor before you consider making any changes to your pension arrangements. The Pensions Advisory Service also provides free and impartial information and guidance.
- The Share Centre will never cold call our customers about possible investments.
- The Share Centre will never call or email you to ask for your security information.
- If you have received a call like this from anyone claiming to work for The Share Centre, or believe someone has accessed your account fraudulently, report it to us by calling us (01296 414141) or by email email@example.com.
- The Share Centre will never ask you to send money to overseas bank accounts by wire transfer.