How to spot a pension or investment scam

How to spot a pension or investment scam

Simon Hawker, IFA St Albans - Visit the FCA Scamsmart to avoid a financial scam

Thursday 1 December, 2022

Our external marketing information will soon have a link to the FCA’s Scamsmart to help our clients avoid investment and pension scams.  

Online fraud is increasing

According to The Guardian in their June 29th 2022 article, UK victims lost 1.3 billion in online fraud in 2021.  UK finance figures stated that push payment scams where the criminal pretends to be a trusted partner and scams the victim into making a payment, increased by 40% as pandemic restrictions eased.

The second largest category of push payment fraud was investment scams, where a total of £171.7m was stolen, up 57% on the previous year.

How can the FCA’s Scamsmart help you?

Investment fraud normally occurs when fraudsters sell overvalued or non-existent investments.  These could include commodities, overseas investments, shares, or foreign exchange.  The recent pension changes also encourage fraudsters to call victims encouraging them to act.  The FCA’s Scamsmart helps educate everyone on the type of fraudulent schemes operating and it has two main purposes.

  1. To enable visitors to understand how fraudsters behave so they are better able to spot a fraudulent call or email.
  2. To promote the FCA Warning List and encourage anyone thinking about investing with a company they don’t know, to check them before they act to ensure they are authorised.

How to recognise a scam?

Remember to be careful if you access your pension or investments or invest and you notice the following warning signs.  These include:

  • Unusually high rates of return.
  • No mention of risks
  • Special offers.
  • Pressure to act quickly.
  • Phone calls,emails or letters from people that you don’t know.

How to protect you and your family

  1. Be suspicious of a company contacting you for the first time
    Check the identity of the person and company calling you to check they are legitimate
  2. Take your time before making a financial decision 
    Don’t be rushed into talking to someone or purchasing from them.  If you have an email that you think is a scam don’t respond.  Any legitimate business will get back in touch with you.
  3. Don’t give out personal information on the telephone to someone you don’t know
  4. Be suspicious of any badly written, grammatically incorrect emails or letters.
  5. Only use secure websites
    Secure websites have a padlock sign in the browser when you open the website
  6. Get virus protection on computers and phones
    Purchase anti-virus protection for your computer
  7. Check the FCA Scamsmart Warning List before investing 

Simon Hawker, Managing Director Lonsdale Services, St Albans, Hertfordshire said: 

‘We recommend everyone visit the FCA Scamsmart website or follow their Facebook page to learn more about financial scams and how they work.  It is an excellent source of information and is supported by many of the largest financial services companies in the UK.  We will be adding the FCA Scamsmart link to our client newsletter, to encourage our clients to keep up to date with the latest fraud scams.  Please remember that if you are suspicious about any emails, phone calls or post you receive contact your Lonsdale Wealth Management financial adviser for financial advice.  Please note that Lonsdale Services has a strict policy, and our advisers will not action any emails for a fund withdrawal without speaking to our clients first to confirm their identity and authorise any withdrawal request.  If you have any concerns about financial scams, please speak to a member of your financial planning team.’

To read more:

Allan Ross, Financial Adviser – Protecting clients against financial scammers

Lonsdale Services prioritises your data

How Lonsdale Services supports clients living in vulnerable circumstances

Tips to spot Covid-19 related financial scams



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