The number of telephone, internet and postal scams circulating is alarmingly high. The Financial Conduct Authority is actively trying to encourage more people to be ‘scam smart.’ This means knowing what signs to look out for that indicate that a company is trying to swindle you out of money. Understanding and knowing about the types of scams out there is important and can prevent you feeling vulnerable and losing your savings.
One of the most recent PPI claims scams comes from people asking for iTunes vouchers in exchange for a so-called PPI payout. Unfortunately, this scam has caught many off-guard, with these believable fraudsters sometimes getting hundreds of pounds by targeting vulnerable people.
Don’t get caught out. Read below to find out how to spot a scam and what to do if it happens to you.
PPI Claims Scams Are Rife
Given the wide mis-selling of PPI and the nature of the industry — where many companies use cold calling as a way to generate custom — PPI claim scams have been prevalent over recent years.
Swansea-based firm Falcon and Pointer not only made millions of cold calls, but also took upfront fees from many customers. It had its PPI licence revoked from the claims management regulator, but, unfortunately, some people were still left out of pocket.
With the PPI deadline set for 29th August 2019, fraudsters will be looking to make as much money from PPI scams before this date. If you want to make a legitimate PPI claim, be wary of any company that cold calls or texts you.
How to Spot a Scam
Reputable claims company Canary Claims has been informed that individuals are using its name to swindle people out of money. Kamran Mirshahi, director of Canary Claims, says “there are PPI fraudsters claiming to be from Canary Claims or other legitimate claims companies. Their aim is to try and scam you out of your hard-earned money.”
By giving people a name they know, they think they can trust the company and give their money away. When there is a valid website with verified user reviews, people can be more easily swayed.
To prevent yourself from being scammed, follow Kamran’s advice on how to spot a scam:
• You should never feel pressured: If you are told there is a time limit and you must give the caller or texter your money as soon as possible or before the end of the day, this is a clear sign of a scam.
• If it sounds too good to be true — it probably is: “There is £6000 waiting for you” — how does the caller know this? No reputable claims company will know how much you are due from a PPI refund until a has been made to the bank. If you are promised a specific — especially if it’s high — sum of money, be cautious.
• It’s not just PPI: Phone calls, text messages and emails about investment fundings are frequent. Fraudsters might be asking you to invest in gold, bonds, wine or anything else. They will claim that you’ll get a large sum of money for an upfront fee.
Dos and Don’ts When You Receive a Scam Phone Call
• DON’T give away bank details over the phone: A reputable PPI claims company will not ask for your bank details over the phone to process a payment. Whether it’s for PPI or anything else, do not give away any personal details over the phone.
• DON’T pay an upfront fee: All good claims companies operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ PPI basis, meaning you will only pay the company a fee if your claim is successful. If the person on the other end of the phone is asking for an upfront payment, don’t give it to them.
• DO ask them details about the company and how they got your number: It’s within your right to find out how a company got your number and what data it has about you. Ask for an address to send a subject access request (SAR) to and find out what information the business holds. You might find that some companies are hesitant and end the call.
• DO contact Action Fraud to report the scam: This will increase awareness and may save the same thing from happening to someone else in the future. You can contact the Action Fraud team online or by phone. You can also report the company to the Financial Conduct Authority.
If you are unsure, always put the phone down. If you do give out any details over the phone, but feel wary afterwards, contact your bank as soon as possible so that they are able to block any potential transactions. Most banks are prepared for this and can act swiftly.
If you do want to claim PPI or invest some money in a certain market, do some research and find a reputable company. All PPI claims companies are registered with the claims management regulator.