Financial First Aid Kit: Tips to help protect yourself against financial crime.

Sadly there are a large number of scammers targeting investors. We have therefore put together a ‘Financial First Aid Kit’ to help you avoid becoming a victim.

The Cambridge-based City Asset Management Team, located in Milton Hall.

In recent years, it seems impossible to open a Sunday paper or listen to the news without hearing about financial crime. Whether it’s a Post Office system gone wrong, problems with identity theft or, even, old fashioned cases of fraud by individuals posing as fund raisers for fake charities, we all know that financial crime is a problem. In this article, we wanted to share with you some of the common issues that our clients experience, hoping to help you to avoid the bad guys. We’ve listed below five  difficult situations and suggested some hints and tips that may help.

1.         Help – my email account was hacked

Firstly, notify banks and credit card companies. Next, notify ActionFraud and record the crime number that they give you. Change any simple passwords to complex new passwords for sites such as Amazon. Think carefully about the sensitive personal information that you may have shared via email and do let other service providers know about the crime. Tell friends and family so that they can look out for any strange emails or requests for data. It may be worth taking out specialist cyber insurance for the next year. We would recommend that you open a new email account – as inconvenient as this may be, we’ve seen a distressing number of clients whose email accounts are hacked becoming victims of a second crime. This might occur months or even years later as data is exchanged on the dark web so don’t take the risk.

2.         I’ve got a strange text from my niece asking for money

It sounds like your niece may have been the victim of phone or email hack. Do call her or her parents and don’t send the money. Very, very few requests of this type are genuine and if the money is needed, your niece or your sister or brother will certainly be in touch in person to discuss this with you. Take a screenshot of the text if you can as evidence if criminals are involved.

3.         Companies House sent me a letter asking me for information about a company that I’ve never heard of.

It is unbelievably common for fraudsters to use the identity of real people to fraudulently set up companies and obtain access to mobile phones, credit cards, car finance and other assets. Do keep your personal data safe – shred bank statements, don’t disclose unnecessary data to third parties, keep a close eye on your internet security and install specialist software on your pc to stop hackers. If you are a victim of this type of fraud, tell Companies House or the credit card firm or mobile network. Also inform ActionFraud and keep a record of the number that they provide to evidence your report.

4.         A claims company have told me that I was involved in an accident that I have never heard of and I need to pay an insurance excess

Notify your own insurer of this scam and then take all information to ActionFraud or your local police station. Do not be intimidated into making a small payment to settle expenses and do share this horrible situation with friends and family so that they can support you.

5.         I lost my mobile phone on the train

Don’t take the first offer of help from a fellow traveller on the train – they may be part of the crime and trying to extract further information from you. Once you have asked a member of station staff for a telephone to notify your mobile provider, called in from a landline or secure phone belonging to a colleague or friend, let your bank and credit card company know. Do keep your mobile phone as secure as your wallet or purse and, however much you want to help, never let a stranger use it.

Please don’t be worried or frightened about these scenarios – by being aware of the danger we can all work together to stay safe from financial crime. If you have any situation that concerns you and suggests that fraudsters may be involved, do reach out to your usual CAM team. And please understand that the identity checks that we have in place when dealing with you are an essential part of our battle against these criminals.

Lastly, on the investment front, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Call us and chat if you’re approached by anyone promising the moon, or 25% per annum risk free returns… Please be aware that large numbers of scammers are currently targeting investors and we are experiencing high levels of financial crime.

We have refreshed our ‘ScamSmart’ information on the City Asset Management website, to give you useful tips and access to resources to help you not only protect yourself against becoming a victim of financial crime, but also some useful guidance on what to do if you unfortunately are.

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