How to protect yourself from financial scams in the financial services sector

Most financial services companies are above board, transparent and registered. These companies include short term loan companies such as payday lenders. Unfortunately there are scammers posing as something they are not and we all need to be on guard so that they do not relieve us of hard-earned money.

From the 1st April the FCA will take over regulation of the financial services market in the UK. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK states that they “want consumers to use financial services with confidence and have products that meet their needs, from firms and individuals they can trust”.

The FCA recommends that to protect yourself from scams it is advisable to check the financial services firm that you plan to do business with. The FCA says that there are firms in the UK and abroad operating without their authorisation and that some of these firms knowingly run scams.

How do I protect myself from scams?

There are a number of ways to ensure you are protected from undesirable operators in the financial market in the UK. Firstly, check the FCA register to see if the firm that claims to be on the register is in fact registered.

  • Get a telephone number for the firm from the FCA register and then call the firm on that number. If in doubt do not get a telephone number directly from the firm.
  • If a firm is sending you emails and there are links which are meant to be to the FCA website ensure the links do indeed go to the official website: www.fca.org.uk.
  • Be aware that there are “cloned firms” which a fraudster can use pretending to be a firm authorised by the FCA.
  • If you are visiting a financial firm’s website you may want to check the details on the website with directory enquiries to make sure they have a telephone number which is listed.
  • Financial services firms such as payday lenders must be authorised but certain types of firms may be registered with the FCA. Check the register to see if a firm is registered or authorised.
  • Remember that you can contact the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 if you have questions or problems.
  • If you are using an overseas firm or financial scheme be extra cautious and always follow similar steps to protect yourself.
  • If you believe you have been contacted by an unauthorised financial services firm then phone the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 to report the contact.

Websites are not difficult to construct and they are not difficult to clone. Don’t believe that just because the website of a financial services firm looks legitimate that it is legitimate. The internet brings many advantages but it also brings fraudsters right into the heart of our homes. Be alert and be aware, you do not want to learn the hard way.

Always check and then double-check the facts, by being careful you could save yourself a lot of money.