4 signs someone close to you could be the victim of a financial scam
Scammers are using tactics that are increasingly more sophisticated often targeting financially vulnerable and elderly people to get them to part with money or sensitive information.
It is a difficult issue to address because the person being scammed may believe the scammer is their friend or they may be too embarrassed to admit they have been targeted.
So how can you tell if someone may have fallen prey to a scammer? Here are four signs they may be targeting one of your loved ones.
1. They get a lot of phone calls or post
Do you know someone whose phone is constantly ringing? Someone who has to take private calls often? Scammers are known to pass contact details throughout their networks and so once someone has been targeted once they are likely to be targeted by others.
Is your loved one receiving a lot of post or buying a lot of stuff? Fraudsters will often bombard people with letters to say they have won prizes that they must pay money to claim. Large amounts of junk mail or random goods can be a tell tale sign someone has been targeted by scammers.
2. They’ve been approached about an investment that sounds too good to be true
Scammers will often try to lure people with investment opportunities that promise high or even guaranteed returns. These opportunities are often based overseas and the scammer will pressure people to make a quick decision.
If you know someone who is considering such an offer remind them that a regulated financial adviser would never pressure someone to make a snap decision to invest. If something sounds too good to be true it often is.
3. They become secretive and insular
Suffering from the aftermath of a scam can be a lonely experience. Your loved one may feel embarrassed about what has happened and they may even be being pressured by the fraudster to keep quiet.
If someone close to you suddenly isolates themselves from friends and family, reach out to find out if there’s an underlying issue.
4. They’re suddenly short of cash
Being suddenly strapped for cash can be an indicator that someone has been scammed. If someone you know is suddenly struggling to make payments that they were once comfortable with it could a sign they have had money taken away from them from a scammer and they don’t want others to know.
Who to report it to and where to get support
If you think a friend or family member is being targeted, it’s important they understand they aren’t alone. Help and support is available from a number of organisations and charities here in the UK.
- Scams should be reported to: Action Fraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ Tel: 0300 123 2040
- The Trading Standards department at your local authority can provide support in terms of supplying call blockers or removing mail. They can also let you know if your loved one has been included on any so called “suckers lists” which means they are likely to get targeted by other fraudsters in the future.
- You can sign up for the Telephone Preference Service here: https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
- The Mail Preference Service can be used to reduce the amount of mail received: https://www.mpsonline.org.uk/
- Citizens Advice Consumer Service offer advice about scams: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ Tel: 03454 04 05 06
- The Pensions Advisory Service can offer guidance for those affected by pension scams: https://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/ Tel: 0300 123 1047
- Charities such as Think Jessica offer valuable support for elderly people and their families who have been targeted by scam mails and calls: http://www.thinkjessica.com/
- Age UK can also offer support: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/
Helping you understand your money and improve your financial capability is a priority for us at Royal London, which is why we’ve created our Good With Your Money guides. If you want to read more about the topic of financial scams, you can read our full guide here.