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  • Writer's pictureMichael Roberts FPFS

Fraud - It could be you

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Over the years, fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated in their use of scams. Gone are the days when you could spot a suspect email a mile off by the poor grammar and spelling.

These days, fraudulent attempts can be very convincing, and their effects can be devastating.

Although none of our clients’ investments have ever been affected, we have seen first-hand the impact of being a victim of fraud and attempted fraud in years gone by. The distress that can be caused by such incidents can be considerable.

Here at Spend Time we take such matters extremely seriously, and we have taken the opportunity to review and further strengthen our already robust procedures to help protect you as much as we possibly can.

We have also implemented a Client Portal so that we may communicate with you securely. If you have not already registered, you can do so at:

If you would like help to register and use the Portal, please get in touch.

Be vigilant to protect yourself

Many fraud attempts start life through an email or telephone call, purporting to be from an official source. We would urge you to be vigilant and mindful of this increased fraud activity. Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

  • Continue to keep an eye out for scam messages and encourage others to do the same. Whenever you receive an email, consider the possibility it may be a scam.

  • Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

  • You may receive emails that offer fictitious 'safety measures' to safeguard against coronavirus. Be extra cautious about clicking on these.

  • If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase.

  • If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, consider whether using a credit card will give you extra protection. Don’t forget to pay off the balance when due though ;-)

  • If you must make a payment to a new recipient, send a small test payment first, then call to verify it has been received ok. Don’t place sole reliance on email, as they are open to interception.

If we all follow these controls, and share this advice with others, we can all do our bit in reducing the likelihood that these fraudsters are successful.

The Financial Conduct Authority's ScamSmart website also has helpful information on scams and how you can protect yourself.

Latest examples of Fraud Tactics

According to ActionFraud, some of the tactics being used in phishing emails include:

• Fraudsters purporting to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to either: click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page; or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account.  • Fraudsters providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates.

• Fraudsters sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn.

• Fraudsters purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax refund and directing victims to a fake website to harvest their personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo making it look reasonably genuine and convincing.

If you have any concerns about whether a request is genuine, it’s often worth getting a second opinion before you do anything. We’re always happy to help if we can.

What to do if you think you have become a victim of fraud

Many hundreds if not thousands of people will become the victim of fraud. If this happens to you, don’t be embarrassed. Scams are so complex and convincing these days, it can happen to even the most vigilant amongst us.

The first thing to do is act quickly. If you may have divulged your bank details or card details, contact your bank straight away. ActionFraud offer further advice here.

Keep well, and be vigilant.

Michael Roberts FPFS

Chartered Financial Planner and Director

Please note that the links above will take you to a site outside of Spend Time, and we are therefore not responsible for the content they contain.

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Please refer to our Legal Declarations page.

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