There are many different types of financial scams which target the public and businesses for illegal gains. Many of these scams are sophisticated and range from credit card, banking and payment card frauds to computer misuse such as gaining unauthorised access to information.
The 2019 Financial Cost of Fraud report concluded that in the UK the total annual cost of fraudulent activity to the UK was around £130bn. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that from the year ending March 2019 there were approximately 3.8 million reported incidents of fraud within the UK, a 17% increase compared to the previous year. This upward trend is likely to continue in the coming years.
So, how do you protect yourself from becoming a victim? The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) offer salient advice that we should all consider to help us avoid being snared by scammers. The main takeaways are to treat any unexpected emails, calls or texts with caution; never give out your bank or personal details to anyone other than trusted sources; check your bank account and credit card statements regularly for fraudulent activity. Also remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Additionally, you can also sign up for daily alerts from the FCA which advice of any warnings issued by them, which includes information on financial scams.
If you have been a victim of a scam, particularly one of a financial nature, you should check your credit file which can be done for free, to see if there are any unauthorised applications on your file.
Should you become aware of fraudulent activity and wish to report it you can contact Action Fraud which is the UK’s national centre for reporting fraud and cybercrime. They provide access to specialist advice via their helpline, which is contactable by telephone, textphone or online live chat.
You should also contact the FCA’s consumer helpline to report potentially fraudulent activity of a financial nature, specifically regarding investments, pensions, loans, insurance and warranty and consumer credit. They are also contactable by telephone and via their website contact form.