View more on these topics

Consumers need skill to guard themselves against scams

From Simon Burgess

It is becoming increasingly important to raise the bar of financial literacy and acumen, not only to help British consumers make the best of the financial markets but also to prevent them falling foul of the worst of them.

Financial scams are nothing new but the internet now allows con artists to cast their nets further without any extra effort. In many cases the scams are not sophisticated and the fraudsters rely on the grapeshot technique, hoping that if they send out lots of requests enough will come back to make it worth their while. Given that sending emails is free, these fraudsters only need a small hit rate to be profitable.

One customer recently contacted us asking for verification of an email they had received that claimed to be from us. It was selling protection products. The email was bogus and the matter is now with the authorities.

In this instance the consumer did the right thing but how many are falling for such tricks, whether it be to send personal details or in this case buy products that will never materialise?

It seems unlikely that anyone would fall for these scams given that emails often come with addresses outside the UK and use language that would never be seen on a communication from a financial institution, but every day hundreds do.

The faster we can improve financial literacy and the more people we can include in the financial markets, the sooner consumers will be able to dismiss these scams themselves.

In the meantime, the message to clients must be that if in doubt about a communication they receive, they should speak to the organisation it is supposedly from or a consumer watchdog such as Which?.

Simon Burgess
Managing director
Britishinsurance.com
By email

Recommended

Glasnost is needed among lenders

I have been following the unfolding story of len-ders supplying brokers with mortgage account information with growing interest.

Don’t make the same old mistakes

Baby boomers had it all, didn’t they? They benefited from exponential house price inflation the like of which my generation is unlikely to see and now they are all retiring early, taking the gap years they never had, exploring the world, returning to long afternoons on the golf course.

Investors urged to look further than holiday lets

Most British investors are missing a trick by focusing solely on holiday lets when buying overseas, reveals Assetz.Its research suggests much more reliable returns with a lot less work can be gained by investing in properties to let to the local market. There is a common misconception that overseas property investment must mean holiday homes, […]

Mortgage Express says buy-to-let market still robust

Mortgage Express says the Council of Mortgage Lender’s latest lending figures demonstrate just how robust the buy-to-let lending market continues to be. Gus Park, head of buy-to-let at Mortgage Express, says: As buy-to-let celebrates its tenth anniversary, the market continues to enjoy strong landlord confidence and tenant demand.Combined with the current healthy housing market, which […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up