Top Money News

nigel woollsey

Nigel Woollsey

Online Writer
Published: 01/10/2019

Recent research by credit experts, Experian UK, has revealed that financial fraud has risen by 14% this year. In a worrying trend criminals are now turning their attention to younger people who have just bought their first home.

Digital bank Monzo has cemented its position as one of the most highly rated financial technology companies by doubling its value to over £2bn after its latest round of funding.

Coming hot on the heels of its last round of fundraising eight months ago, Monzo has seen a further investment of £113m led by the Silicon Valley start-up accelerator, Y Combinator Continuity Fund. Y Combinator Continuity has already backed other brands, including Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit.

Consumers who believe that they may qualify for compensation after being wrongly sold payment protection insurance (PPI) are being urged to act before the hard deadline for claims on 29 August 2019. With just 10 weeks remaining, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a new series of multimedia adverts designed to motivate those who may still be eligible to make a claim before it’s too late.

It is thought that millions of UK consumers were mis-sold PPI when taking out a range of financial products, including loans, credit cards and mortgages. The point of PPI was that if you had taken out the cover and then couldn’t work – through illness or redundancy – then some or all of your credit repayments would be covered. However, problems arose due to mis-selling this product to people who:

• Indicated they did not want to take out PPI, but this was still included in their repayment costs
• Had no need of PPI
• Were wrongly advised that if they didn’t take PPI then their credit application would be refused
• Took out PPI that had been incorrectly explained to them or where the product was not suitable for them.

The campaign comes as FCA figures released this week, show the regulator has had more than 3.9m users access the PPI website and 44,000 calls to its dedicated contact centre. On top of that, a total of £334.3m was paid in April 2019 to customers who complained about the way they were sold PPI. This takes the amount paid since January 2011 to £35.3bn.

As part of this final leg of the campaign, the FCA has recruited its own ‘Pressure’s on Panel’ of ambassadors. The panel features 90s-icon, Mr Motivator, partners such as the Money and Pensions Service, personal finance expert Sarah Pennells, and expert bloggers like Skint Dad.

Emma Stranack, FCA’s PPI Deadline Campaign Lead, said: “With just over 10 weeks to go, time is running out to claim back money for PPI. Simply put, if you haven’t complained to your provider by 29 August 2019, you won’t be able to claim money back for PPI – so you should make your decision as soon as possible. Checking if you had PPI is simple and free. Don’t worry about paperwork, you only need your date of birth and relevant previous addresses. Search FCA PPI or call 0800 101 88 00 to find out how.”

Personal finance expert and consumer champion, Sarah Pennells, echoed this, adding: “Now is the time to contact your bank, loan or card company as soon as possible. You can complain to them directly for free and you can use the FCA’s website for more information. You don’t have to use a claims management company as providers are supposed to make sure that complaining about PPI is straightforward.”

Consumers who haven’t complained to their provider by 29 August 2019 won’t be able to claim money back for PPI.

As of today, certain banks and building societies have signed to up a new voluntary agreement to refund the victims of fraud – especially those scams known as authorised push payment cons.

Last year some 84,000 people lost a total of £354m to criminals – many of these cases involved individuals losing tens of thousands of pounds to the con artists. In the same period, just £83m was refunded to customers – heaping more misery on top of the loss of what is often a victim’s life savings.

However, the new voluntary agreement will look to banks to judge each case by a new set of criteria, by which customers who have taken reasonable care or who can demonstrate an element of vulnerability will be refunded in full if they become the target of authorised push payment scams.

A warning has been issued today by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) together with Action Fraud regarding the rising number of crypto assets and forex investment scams. Reports of this kind of criminal activity tripled last year to over 1,800 recorded instances, with more than £27m lost to scams of this nature in 2018/19. However, in an alarming new trend, fraudsters are using bogus celebrity endorsements in order to dupe unwary investors into parting with their cash.

 

Social media platforms are being increasingly used to promote ‘too good to be true’ online trading platforms, accompanied by images of high-cost, luxury items, such as expensive watches and cars. Once an innocent investor has been enticed into clicking on a web link, they will be taken to a professional-looking website where they will be encouraged to invest. At first, the customer is assured by the fact that the first investment has made a profit, before the scammers then approach the victim to invest yet more funds as well as introducing friends and family to the bogus scheme. Eventually, however the returns stop, the account is closed without warning and the criminals disappear with the victim’s money. It has been estimated that the average loss due to this kind of fraud is around £14,600 per victim.

 

The introduction of fake celebrity endorsements is a relatively new development that has added an additional lure for the unwary on social media platforms. This is a ploy designed with the sole intention of lending credibility to the scammer’s offers.

 

Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, said: “People need to be wary of fake investments on online trading platforms. It’s vital that people carry out the necessary checks to ensure that an investment they’re considering is legitimate.

“Action Fraud is pleased to be partnering with the FCA to raise awareness of online trading scams, and we hope it will help prevent more people falling victim. Remember, if you think you have been a victim, contact Action Fraud.”

 

This advice was echoed by Mark Stewart, executive director of Enforcement and Market Oversight for the FCA: “'We’re warning the public to be suspicious of adverts that promise high returns from online trading platforms.

“Scammers can be very convincing, so always do your own research into any firm you are considering investing with to make sure that they are the real deal. Before investing online, find out how to protect yourself from scams by visiting the ScamSmart website, and if in any doubt – don’t invest.”

 

The FCA has also produced a simple series of rules for would-be investors encouraging people to stay safe while scrolling:

  • Don’t assume it’s real – professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t always mean that an investment opportunity is genuine. Criminals can use the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate.
  • Stay in control – avoid uninvited investment offers whether made on social media or over the phone. If you’re thinking about making an investment, thoroughly research the company first and consider getting independent advice.
  • Make the right checks – firms providing regulated financial services must be authorised by the FCA. You can check whether they are authorised on the Financial Services Register. Use the contact details on the Register, not the details the firm gives you, to avoid ‘clones’.
  • Every report matters – if you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to Action Fraud.

 

Moneyfacts.co.uk also has a number of helpful online guides, which can help you steer clear of online financial scams as well as ideas on how to keep your online banking safe.

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