Technology isn’t slowing down any time soon – but with a fast pace of technological progress and all of the good that comes from embracing technology, it is easy to become complacent. Fraud and Financial Crime are on the rise, with 3.4 million reported cases in the last year and an estimated cost of 190 billion pounds in the UK alone. The best way to stay safe in an online world is to increase your awareness of what fraudsters are attempting and to always remain vigilant.
How can fraudsters target you?
Traditional Fraud: Basic online fraud attempts have been a risk for the last two decades and include:
- Spam emails, requesting a new password for a website or service that you use. This is called ‘Phishing’ and has been prevalent since the dawn of the internet. This gains the scammer your favourite password and gives them free access to anything else you’ve used the same password for.
- Solution: Don’t use similar passwords for your online accounts and suspect any unexpected emails. To remember all of your complex unique passwords you can use an encrypted password service, such as iCloud Keychain from Apple or the popular App ‘1Password’.
- Fraudsters impersonating the people and businesses that you trust.
- Solution: As a general rule, if you receive contact through a new phone number or email address or the contact is entirely unexpected, be vigilant and verify that the person is who they say they are.
- Urgency / Opportunity scams
- Solution: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Being notified that you have a long lost family member who has left you an inheritance or being enticed by an exciting investment opportunity is more common than you might think. Steer clear and remain vigilant. If it is investment related, contact us.
Complex Fraud: A scary fact is that in addition to these traditional forms of fraud which have become commonplace, fraudsters are attempting complex new methods to gain access to your families wealth. These methods are harder to spot so your first step to safety is to be aware of how fraudsters may be trying to expose you:
- Email Interception
- In a society built on email, it is scary to learn that emails can be intercepted. If you receive an invoice by email, it doesn’t hurt to call the sender and check that the bank details are correct before you transfer funds. Fraudsters can intercept an email after it has been sent by a legitimate sender, edit the bank details from the authentic bank details to their own, and let the email continue on to the desired recipient. The fraudster is hoping that the recipient trusts the sender and transfers funds. This type of fraud sounds inconceivable but it is sadly a possibility – this very scam was attempted on a member of the boosst team who was thankfully alert enough to spot an unusual change to bank details from the business invoicing them and they called ahead to check, saving thousands of pounds from being lost.
- Solution: Be vigilant! Never be afraid to call the sender and check that bank details are correct. be sure to use a phone number that you already have… not one from the email you suspect may have been intercepted and edited!
- Social Media Imposters
- Fraudsters are starting to use social media websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to create fake user profiles that appear to work for a company that they definitely do not! This can allow fraudsters to pose as an employee of a business that you trust and message you in a new context to catch you off guard.
- Solution: Be vigilant! Treat the online world like the real world. Just because somebody says that they work for a business, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they do!
- Fraudsters like to deal in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the transactions are not traceable to any individual or bank account. The cryptocurrency market is currently unregulated and we do not advocate or advise that our clients buy any form of cryptocurrencies. If you do purchase any form of cryptocurrency you should be extremely cautious and do significant due diligence on all parties involved in any transaction or storage.
- Solution: Be vigilant! Avoid the market for cryptocurrencies whilst it remains unregulated and a hotspot for financial crime.
Protecting your relationship with boosst
We take a range of measures to mitigate against financial crime, including:
- All boosst advisers are authorised by the FCA to provide advice and are named on the FCA Register. The FCA register is publicly available on the FCA website, so that you can see our authorised Financial Planners.
- Our default method of communication is by Secure Message using the boosst Personal Finance Portal. If you do receive an email from the boosst team, our email address will always end with @boosst.financial
- If you send us a Secure Message via the boosst Personal Finance Portal to request a withdrawal that looks in any way suspicious, we will call you to validate your request and confirm in writing.
- We will never call you with an ‘exciting new investment opportunity’. All boosst clients benefit from carefully constructed portfolios which we review together annually. Unexpected contact of any kind is almost certainly an attempted scam. If you receive any unexpected contact that feels suspicious, contact us directly to let us know.
- No boosst employee will ever contact you via LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social network to discuss your finances. It is frustratingly simple to create a social media account and name ‘boosst’ as your employer. Be vigilant – if you see something that doesn’t look right or if someone contacts you, saying that they work for boosst – alert us immediately.
- We will never ask for your bank details over the phone to make an investment or withdrawal.
- We will only send a withdrawal that you have requested to a bank account that you have confirmed to us in writing, signed for and verified.
- We will never ask you for any username or password to any website or service. This includes investments that we manage for you and the boosst Personal Finance Portal.
“How can I check to see that a boosst adviser is an authorised Financial Planner?”
Our regulator is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and they maintain a public list of authorised firms and Financial Planners. If you search for the ‘FCA Register’ online you will be able to verify the authorisation of boosst Limited as well as our Planners.
“I’ve been contacted by someone unknown to me who says that they work for boosst, how can I check?”
As the boosst team grows, you may be contacted by someone that you haven’t spoken to before. Due to the proactive nature of the ongoing services that we provide, when we contact you it will almost always be an expected point of contact (to arrange your next Planning Meeting or to complete an agreed action from your last Planning Meeting). If you are contacted unexpectedly or if something doesn’t feel right, please send us a message via the secure boosst Personal Finance Portal or call and speak to a member of the team that you know.
- Be vigilant!
- Remain aware of how fraudsters can target you.
- Be vigilant!
- Talk to your friends and family to spread awareness.
- Be vigilant!
- Did we mention that you should be vigilant?