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From pensions to investments, money grabbing scammers want to trick you into trusting them with your money. Read on to find out how to secure your money and identify when a financial promise isn’t all it seems.
If something looks suspicious, the best thing to do is nothing. Don't click or select links, give any details or do what it wants you to do. Instead, look online for the company’s official details and contact them direct.
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. When something doesn't feel right, stop and think about who is asking you to do it and why.
The number one way to stop scammers is by making sure your password and security settings are strong, updated regularly and available to you alone.
Pension scams are designed to persuade you to move funds from your pension into fake investment accounts. This type of scam is more common now that people can access their pension from age 55. If you're under 55, you might be approached by someone promoting the benefits of early pension release schemes and encouraged to access your pension early. The scammers may tell you to transfer your money into an overseas scheme or try to sell you a one-off investment opportunity. Once the money is transferred, the scammers could steal your pension funds. Early pension release schemes are not authorised by HMRC and withdrawn funds could be charged at anything from 55% to 70% in tax. If you’re considering entering a scheme to access your pension before 55, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recommends seeking professional advice.
Pension cold calling is banned by the FCA. If you’re contacted out of the blue by phone, email or text message by someone you don’t know, it’s probably a scam. If you’re considering an early release pension scheme, it’s a good idea to get independent financial advice from a regulated firm.
Firms that are regulated by the FCA are unlikely to pressure you into making a decision. If they do, you should report them to the FCA straight away. You can check if they’re regulated by searching the Financial Services Register.
If you think you’ve become the victim of a pension scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
If you get contacted with an investment opportunity that seems too good to be true, it might be a scam. You might be promised you’ll make money on ‘unique commodities’ like wine, land banking, carbon credits, diamonds and graphite, which may turn out to be worthless.
No one can guarantee you’ll make money on an investment. Reputable firms especially will never promise that you can. Protect yourself by not making hasty decisions about investment opportunities you don’t know anything about, which might turn out to be fake.
Search the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s list of registered companies to see if the company is real and seek financial advice from a regulated firm. You can also report the company to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk if you think you've been scammed.
Cheque fraud can involve altering or tampering with a cheque, counterfeit cheques that look real, forged cheques, which are genuine but stolen, bounced cheques and even invisible ink.
Only accept cheques from people you know and trust, and ask for a different method of payment if it involves a lot of money. Use a pen when writing a cheque and put a line through any empty spaces.
Contact your bank or building society straight away on a number you know if you think you’re a victim of cheque fraud. You can also make a report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
Have you been told that you can earn easy cash by moving unknown funds through your savings account? Or have you been asked to open a savings account in your name that will be operated by a third party?
If you do this, it’s money laundering. And you’ve become what is known as a “money mule.”
Acting as a money mule can lead to long-term consequences if you’re caught, even if you didn’t know where the money was coming from or is going to. Your savings accounts will be frozen or closed, and you could end up serving prison time.
Money laundering is used to hide money earned through criminal activity. And it funds serious crimes such as terrorism, proliferation financing, drug trafficking and people smuggling. Getting involved with these people could put you, your savings and your family at risk.
You can read more about protecting yourself on our keeping yourself safe page.
If you think you know someone is recruiting money mules, you can protect victims by reporting them. Call local police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
If you prefer not to give your details to the police, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously online or by calling 0800 555 111.
If you think you've uncovered a scam, been targeted by a scam or fallen victim to fraudsters, the best thing to do is act quickly.
Here are some other official websites and resources dedicated to keeping you safe from fraud.
Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud.
Do you think you can tell a scam from the genuine thing? Put your ability to spot a scam to the test with the Take Five quiz.
takefive-stopfraud.org.uk is an external website. Skipton Building Society cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites.
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Site intended for UK residents only. Skipton Building Society is a member of the Building Societies Association. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, under registration number 153706, for accepting deposits, advising on and arranging mortgages and providing Restricted financial advice.Principal Office, The Bailey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1DN.