Never answer phone calls from numbers you don’t recognise
Scammers never leave voicemails. They might phone you two or three times but if you never answer they won’t bother again.
Don’t answer and then hang up, they know you’ll answer again if they try from another number.
If it’s important, say a friend has a new phone number, they’ll leave you a message or send you a text.
Top tip #1: add a new entry to your mobile called ‘Ignore’. Every time you get a call from one of these numbers, simply add it to this. I do this and now have 83 phone numbers I’m happy to ignore.
Check the FCA Register
If the company you are contacted by are not on this register, walk away. Using unauthorised firms won’t give you access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme – if anything goes wrong, you’re unlikely to get your money back.
Don’t believe they are FCA registered just because it says so on their website. And don’t use the link to the FCA Register on their website, that could be fake too.
Top tip #2: Many scammers pretend to be a legitimate firm (it’s called cloning). Don’t use the contact details they give you, only use the phone numbers and email addresses on the register.
Top tip #3: look them up on Companies House.
Scammers set up and close down companies very frequently. Companies House website shows the date of incorporation – if it was within six months, this should set alarm bells ringing.
If the company is overseas and therefore not registered in the UK, definitely walk away.
If it looks too good to be true…
…it probably is.
Any investment return over 5% a year should make you suspicious.
Having said that, scammers are now offering more realistic returns in order to make their scam seem more legitimate.
Top tip #4: anything other than a stone-cold, dull, boring, plain vanilla cash deposit can go down in value. Anything that can go up by 10% can easily go down by 20% when things go wrong. Be suspicious of any promised returns above that on cash. There is no reward without risk.