Brit residents and expats warned yet again about financial scammers

Published:  22 Nov at 6 PM
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According to the UK’s financial regulator, very few retirement savers are smart enough to spot a financial scam.

In spite of numerous, regular warnings from the UK’s financial regulators as well as from other online sources, both British residents and expats are too slow to spot financial scammers. A recent report estimates that the majority of those approached either online or offline decide to follow the scammer’s advice within just 24 hours of receiving an offer.

The report doesn’t discriminate between British residents and UK expats living, working or retiring overseas, but a frighteningly high percentage of seemingly savvy savers say they’d accept financial advice as part of an unrequested contact. Cold calling is the number one tactic used by financial scammers, with the second being an online offer for a pension review.

According to the regulator, those most likely to get conned into accepting a bogus pension offer are better educated, with those holding a university degree 40 per cent more willing to accept a dodgy pension review. Online free pension reviews and offers of early access to pension savings pots are now known as the modus operandi of financial fraudsters, but the message doesn’t seem to have got through to a large number of investors, as two out of every three are confident they’d be able to recognise a scam.

The UK regulator is now trying a new tack to warn residents and expats alike by publishing professional advice from a behavioural psychologist on how to spot a crook. Giveaways include faking friendship and empathy with their marks, setting themselves up in expat communities overseas by starting expats clubs or meetings, faking qualifications and registration with the UK regulator or its local equivalent and generally cultivating a ‘Mr Nice Guy’ persona.
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