11 June 2019

Could my loved one be the victim of a financial scam?

5 min read

 
Helen Morrissey, Personal Finance Specialist

Helen Morrissey

Corporate PR Specialist – Long Term Savings

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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.

 

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.