Are you worried about financial fraud? It probably isn't too much of a concern, with people instead tending to have an "it'll never happen to me" mentality. However, research has shown that a large proportion of consumers have suffered from some form of financial fraud in the past, highlighting the importance of remaining vigilant to the threat.
According to research from Phoenix Group, two in five (or 40%) of those surveyed had suffered from some form of financial fraud, with 41% of those having lost more than £500 in the process. Often, it's simply down to lack of awareness, and this in itself can make consumers vulnerable.
More than half (53%) of those asked said they'd be able to recognise a scam if they saw one, but the reality doesn't quite match up: just one in five managed to detect a fraud before they lost any money, while over one in ten (13%) have been a victim of financial fraud more than once, initially losing an average of £774. Many people won't report a fraud, either – just 22% stated that they'd report it to Action Fraud, with 15% saying that they'd be reluctant to do so for fear of repercussions from the fraudster.
This is clearly an attitude that needs to change, as the more that's known about fraud, the more can be done to stop it. The research also highlighted the need to raise awareness of it – for example, a growing tactic in financial fraud is to use high-pressure sales tactics to sell high risk investments, which also highlights the need for consumers to seek suitable advice before making any investment decisions.
It's an issue that becomes even more pressing given the fact that 23% of those surveyed refuse to talk to anyone when making important investment decisions – with the financial risk involved, this is never advisable. Not only could it leave consumers open to scams, but it could mean they make poor investment decisions that have long-term impact. Parminder Dhothar, of Phoenix Group, comments: "Our research shows that education is needed to protect consumers from financial fraud. There is still a lack of understanding and people can lose their life savings through scams.
"Many people are not aware of who to report fraud to, or where to get advice to help them make the right investment decisions, which makes it even more important to raise awareness of the issue and ensure consumers are adequately protected."
It's important to be on your guard, so to make sure that you can protect yourself from fraudsters and keep your savings and investments intact, Phoenix Group has a few top tips to bear in mind:
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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