A fully flexible way to invest
3 minute read
Fraud and scams are often difficult to spot. We explain how to protect yourself and where to go for help if you’re a victim.
Who's it for? All investors
The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you could get back less than you invest. If you’re not sure about investing, seek professional independent advice.
Falling victim to a fraud or scam can not only result in serious financial losses, but may also have huge emotional consequences, with those affected often feeling shocked, worried and ashamed.
It’s vital to remember that if you are a victim of this type of crime, you’re not alone and support is available, but it’s essential you report what’s happened as soon as possible.
Here, we look at how to spot a scam, ways to protect yourself and where to go for help if you’re a victim.
Although fraud and scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, there are warning signs to watch out for which might indicate someone is trying to steal your money.
If you’re contacted out of the blue by someone promising you a tax refund or telling you there’s a problem with your internet connection or computer and they need remote access to correct it, this will usually be a scam.
Scammers want to avoid detection, so will often ask you not to discuss any financial transaction they want you to make with friends or family.
Legitimate organisations will rarely make grammatical or spelling mistakes in the communications they send you, so if you spot lots of errors, this should be a red flag that you might not be dealing with a genuine business.
If you’re contacted by someone offering you a bargain holiday or a prize from a competition you never entered, it’s likely to be a scam.
If someone asks you to pay for a service or goods using an international money transfer service, or if they want payment in vouchers, this should ring warning bells.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from scams. Follow these seven golden rules to help you stay safe:
To protect yourself from online fraud, make sure you create strong passwords for all your accounts, and never use the same password twice. The strongest passwords usually contain a mix of numbers, letters and other symbols. Try a memorable phrase such as ‘I had my son James in 2005!’ and use each word’s initial letter, for example IhmsJi2005!
You should also be careful when using public Wi-Fi – you should never use it for banking or shopping as fraudsters may be able to access your log-in details.
Be wary of any unsolicited emails asking for information about passwords or log-in details, even if they look entirely legitimate. Always contact the company who’s supposedly made the request to find out if it is from them and make sure you use their correct number rather than calling any number shown on the email.
Barclays has fraud monitoring systems in place, so occasionally you may be contacted to confirm a recent transaction, or any changes made to your account.
If we do call, we won’t ever ask for your passcodes, passwords, PIN, card details, PINsentry codes or sensitive account information.
Notify your bank immediately if you’ve shared your account details or if you’ve made a payment out of your account that you believe is a scam.
Report the fraud to Action Fraud, which is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre on 0300 123 2040, or report it online.
You should let the Financial Conduct Authority know via its consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768, or you can report it online.
If you live in England or Wales and have been affected by this or any other type of crime and need support, you can call Victim Support on 0808 1689111 or you can request support online.
If you live in Scotland, you can contact Victim Support Scotland on 0800 160 1985 or visit Victim Support Scotland. If you live in Northern Ireland and want to make an appointment to speak to someone from Victim Support NI, call 02890 243133 (Belfast) or 02871 370086 (Foyle) or go online at Victim Support NI.
The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invest. Tax rules can change and their effects on you will depend on your individual circumstances.
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