If you've Googled 'logbook loans UK' and secured a suitable financing option for your circumstances, you're probably on track towards creating a healthier financial future. But while you're tidying up your bank accounts, organising your debt and setting up your standing orders, did you know that there a number of financial scams you should be keeping an eye out for too?
Financial scams usually involve a company offering illegitimate opportunities. These opportunities appear real, but are actually fake or illegal, designed to get you to hand over your cash or personal details. A scammer could be posing as a door to door salesman, or it could even be someone you never hear from, quietly hacking into your online banking or reading through your bank statements to steal your identity... Sound scary? It is!
But, don't worry: we've detailed a handful of the most common financial scams you should be aware of. Here's what they involve, and some top tips to avoid falling prey to them...
Fake emails claiming that you need to verify your details
Beware of emails from scammers pretending to be organisations such as Apple, Barclays (or any other bank) or your email provider. The emails might look genuine, but often they're from scammers wanting you to give them your security information by 're-verifying' your details.
Play it safe by Googling the official contact details for the organisation (do not use the details provided on a potentially fake email - they could be a scam too!) and ask if you really do need to verify anything. You can spot a fake message by looking for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, addresses that don't seem 'official' enough, or introductions like 'Dear Sir/Madam'. Genuine businesses know your name and will want to reassure you that it's them contacting you.
Emails, texts or letters asking for your PIN, online baking details or passwords
Also, your bank will never, ever ask you to tell them your password or PIN number. They won't ever ask you to email or text personal or banking information, or email you with a link to a page which asks you to enter your online banking log-in details. They won't ask you to carry out a test transaction online, and they won't provide banking service through an app that isn't their official app. Remember that banks ask you a series of security questions rather than asking for your PIN number or password!
Avoid scams like these by questioning the authenticity of any email, text or letter that claims to be your bank asking you to do any of these things. Search for the bank's official contact details, or better yet, visit your branch in person and resolve any issues face to face.
Be smart with social media
Scammers can find out valuable personal information about you and your family using your social networking profiles.
Be smart about what you post publicly, and be savvy about your passwords. Consider making your social media accounts private, update your login information regularly and try not to use the same password for every single account you own - using the same one everywhere increases the chance of someone being able to access several accounts belonging to you.