Timeshare, Cryptocurrency, Financial And Legal Scams Have Doubled In The Last Year !
More and more customers are falling victim to scams involving timeshare, cryptocurrency, binary options investments and bogus solicitors, according the the charity, Citizen’s Advice. Scammers posing as professionals from financial and legal services are on the rise and such cons now account for a fifth of all scams reported to Citizen’s Advice.
Citizen’s Advice have reported a 6% increase of these types of scams being reported to their advisory service this financial year and they have calculated that the median financial loss for these types of scams is £350.
Citizen’s Advice are sharing their findings, as well as tips on how to avoid being scammed, at events across the country in June, as part of the government backed campaign Scam Awareness Month.
Citizen’s Advice want to highlight, in particular, an increase in cases reported in the following areas:
1. Timeshares: the amount of bogus companies and individuals claiming to purchase timeshare memberships from customers, for an advanced fee, is seeing a huge increase. Never pay for services before the services have actually been completed and you have proof of this.
2. Bogus solicitors: a scammer will intercept emails from a legitimate solicitor and pose as them. Scammers often strike when a property is being exchanged and have the funds diverted to their bank account instead. Check if they are on the Solicitors Regulation Authority to see if they are genuine.
3. Binary Options: scammers pose as stockbrokers and get customers to place bets on whether non-existent shares will rise or fall within a certain date. They promise big returns, but, before investing in anyone, you should check if they are on the FCA register and not on the warning list of firms to avoid.
4. Cryptocurrency: tons of fake websites have appeared, claiming to offer cryptocurrency investments, such as Bitcoin. In particular, be on the lookout for scammers who pretend to have endorsements from household names. Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com who regularly appears on ITV’s This Morning and Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, is currently suing Facebook, for allowing a scam advert that featured his face to advertise on their Social Media Platform.
Citizen’s Advice helped a working mother take action, after she realised her cryptocurrency investment was a scam. The woman invested £500 in what she believed was Bitcoin. Scammers called her daily with investment updates. She believed this to be a legitimate scheme and continued to invest. In total, she was scammed out of £40,000.
Another victim was a former finance professional, who fell victim to a sophisticated clone investment scam, after investing £25,000 in a company she thought was legitimate. The scammer had set up a clone website in a regulated investment company’s name.
These two cases illustrate how intelligent and educated people can fall victim to scams and fraud. No-one is immune, as scammers find more and more sophisticated ways to defraud people.
These types of scams have doubled from 109 last year to 235 this year and with the shock, shame and embarrassment of falling victim to such a scam, many more go unreported.
Tips on how to avoid scams !
1. Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if its from a company you recognise.
2. Don’t be rushed – you should never make a decision before going away and thinking about it, or discussing it with people you know and trust.
3. If a job advertisement asks you for money in advance, it is not legitimate.
4. Be wary if you’re asked to pay in an unusual way, such as by vouchers.
5. Never send money to someone you have never met.
6. Never give out your bank details to anyone.
7. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.