Signs that scream financial scam

A new ScamSmart campaign from the Financial Conduct Authority warns of opportunist scammers, and urges viewers not to let con artists ‘enjoy your retirement’.

A recent FCA campaign has highlighted the devastating impact of fake financial advice. The latest advert features a man named Bob, who pleasantly begins by talking about his wife, kids and grandkids. But Bob’s story soon unfolds when he speaks of an adviser who rang him out of the blue, offering a free pension review.

The visuals switch between a man on a jet ski and Bob and his wife on the sofa. ‘Just shy of 40 years’ pension. He took all of it’, Bob says. It turns out the jet ski visual is depicting the so-called adviser, who is busy enjoying the pension money he stole from Bob. And just like that, you realise how easy it is for scams to ruin not just someone’s retirement, but to steal 40 years’ worth of hard work.

How to trust a financial adviser:

In light of the distrust created by scammers, here are several ways to know how and how not to rely on financial advice:

> Use the FCA register

While claims of financial regulations and authorisations might seem plausible, you must always make sure that they are evidenced. You can usually confirm this by searching for a firm and an authorised individual on the Financial Services Register.

> Think about how they get in touch

Cold calling about a pension opportunity is illegal. Out-of-the-blue communications from scammers can be telling, as phone calls or texts about your pension or investments tend to be suspicious. As with many scams, it’s never worth sacrificing your finances just because a caller seems polite or authentic.

> Be careful of ‘free pension reviews’

No professional review relating to your pension is entirely free. While ‘free’ is a buzzword for promotion, it’s also used by scammers to lure people in. But it’s all false economy, especially if the scammer gets away with stealing money.

> Make sure you know where your money is going

It’s important that you’re aware of where your money is going to be kept. While some scammers gradually and slyly steal money through complicated investment structures and hidden fees, others will try and immediately take the lot.

Watch the ScamSmart advert here:

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