Email, call and text message scams have been around for many years, but there seems to be an ever-increasing number in circulation these days.
Whether it's text messages asking for payment to arrange for deliveries from Royal Mail or Hermes, or from NHS Vaccination or TV Licensing supposedly requiring extra payment, scams are becoming ever more sophisticated, even including cloning investment firms. So, while it’s always been important to be wary of unsolicited emails and text messages claiming to be from financial providers, the recent increases mean you’re much more likely to be targeted.
As reported by the BBC1
“Victims lost an average of £45,242 last year after investing with fraudsters imitating genuine investment firms.
More than £78m was lost in total, according to fraud reporting centre Action Fraud2.
Reports of clone firm investment scams rose by 29% in April - at the time of the first national lockdown - compared with the previous month.”
Scammers will use email, text, calls, your social media and any other way to contact you. As a rule, never act based on instructions from an unexpected email, text or phone call or follow any links directing you to a website asking for payment, financial details or personal information. If you receive a message that you think may be valid, contact the sender directly, confirm that the message was from them, and make sure you are completely comfortable with what is being asked before taking action.
Use contact details you already have and know to be valid and, if in doubt, use a trusted source to look them up. Don’t reply to the text or email directly. Create a new message and send to the address/number you know to be valid or call them for confirmation.
For financial services, you are advised to use the contact details available from the FCA Financial Services Register3
SG Wealth Management and Data Protection
While we do send regular updates to our clients via email, we’ll never use SMS text and we’ll never send emails regarding details of financial transactions or request financial information outside of one-to-one conversations with a Wealth Manager.
To find out more, please request a copy of our Privacy Notice.
Personal Finance Portal (‘PFP’)
We strongly encourage our clients to register for our online Personal Finance Portal
As well as monitoring their portfolio, accessing and sharing documents with us and updating personal details, they can send and receive secure messages. The portal is available 24x7 all year round and, unlike email, where messages are transmitted across the internet, documents and messaging are securely held within our system.
The PFP also includes ‘two-factor authentication’, which provides a second layer of security alongside your personal username and password. Two-factor authentication is a process whereby a random six-digit code generated by an app on your smartphone or tablet is also required when you log in and, though this isn’t currently mandatory, we would encourage it's use. We recommend using secure messaging within the PFP as the most secure form of electronic communication with us.
The FCA ScamSmart campaign4 includes tips on specific subjects on how to avoid being tricked, including: