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How to keep safe from financial scams

As technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, unfortunately so do the methods used by conmen to take advantage of the vulnerable. While anyone can be taken in by a scam it is often the elderly who are most at risk. No-one is immune to cold callers with offers that can seem too good to be true but there are ways to protect yourself from falling victim to unscrupulous salespeople. Scams cost the UK consumers £3.5 billion per annum.

According to the Telegraph these top 10 scams have all been on the increase in 2013 but there are plenty of ways that people of any age can be tricked into giving out their personal details. So here are some guidelines for protecting your money and keeping yourself safe from financial scams.

Cold Callers

Cold calling via the telephone is one of the most common scams out there. While many companies which telephone you are entirely genuine, even normal sales calls can be intrusive and put pressure on you to purchase something you don’t actually need. Sadly, in tough economic times, many companies are more interested in profits than in providing services that will benefit you.

Never be afraid to check out the details of what you are being offered before you commit to anything over the phone. For example if you are being offered insurance products you can fully check any house and content insurance quotes online or get a relative to do some background checks for you. Some insurers will cover you for things like identity theft and theft from your home in the event that you are affected by these cold callers.

financial scam

It is always best to avoid giving out any financial information over the phone, even if the caller sounds genuine. Legitimate companies will allow you the option to phone back once you have done your research and decided whether or not the product is right for you.

If the caller is persistent, sometimes to the point of being rude, then it is absolutely fine to put down the phone. Any reputable company should be offering the highest levels of customer service, not making people feel uncomfortable in their own homes.

 

Insurance scams do happen in this country. Unfortunately they enjoy preying on the vulnerable. The Telegraph wrote an article with a shocking figure back in 2010. It stated that it is estimated by experts that 77% of fraud committed against pensioners are insurance scams. This is why it is of paramount importance that you protect your vulnerable family members and help them look into any insurance products offered.

Checklist of things to do to keep yourself safe

If you are receiving persistent calls from companies you don’t know or even well known companies that are offering services you are not interested in then it is a good idea to stick to the following guidelines in order to protect yourself.
• Do not give out any of your personal information or financial details.
• Tell the person calling that you will phone them back, but don’t use any numbers that they have given you. Instead check the company online, or get a relative to do so and call them back using the telephone number displayed on the website or in the phone directory.
• If you don’t wish to deal with the call yourself then ask if they will call a relative who deals with your financial matters instead.
• Be wary of calling premium rate numbers since these can end up costing you a lot of money if you are left holding on.

•Always research any insurance offers online.
Following these simple guidelines should help to keep you safe from fraudsters and will ensure that you don’t take out any financial services products that are unsuitable for your needs.

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