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How to protect yourself from clone firms - advice for customers

Protecting yourself from cyber crime - advice for our customers

Step 1: ignore unsolicited call and emails

Wesleyan does not cold call the general public. Be very suspicious of any phone calls or emails you receive offering 'too good to believe' investment products. Unsolicited calls from pension companies you have no previous relationship with were banned in early 2019. Unscrupulous scammers have moved on to email.

Step 2: Take care when responding to social Media ads

Beware of advertisements that pop up on social media promising unrealistically high investment returns and refer you to websites that are probably fake.

Step 3: Don't click on to the link they send you

Even if you think an approach might be genuine do plenty of research before going ahead. Don't click on to any links or attachments contained in an email - instead search online for the genuine company's website address and contact them direct via the general switchboard number.

Don't forget clones often imitate real company websites - mimicking colour schemes and wording and using logos from regulators to add an air of legitimacy - but any phone numbers are likely to lead you only to the scammer.

Step 4: Check official listings

Always check the FCA register for the company's phone number, email and address and use these to make contact rather than those that appear on the website you're directed to. Some scammers might claim the official FCA details are out of date - but that is probably a ruse to put you off the scent and continue with the 'deal'.

You can also try conventional ID checks, such as directory enquiries or Companies House. The FCA also publishes a warning list of known scams but remember, even if the deal you're checking isn't on that list, that doesn't mean you should go ahead.

Step 5: Pause for thought

Don't be rushed into quick decisions to buy, no matter how genuine the salesperson appears. If the returns promised seem too good to be true, they almost certainly are and at the very least the investment will be high risk. You could become a victim of a complete scam, and any money you hand over will be lost and unrecoverable.

If you've any doubts about an investment offer, then don't proceed. Legitimate companies won't pressurise you to move money quickly. Never give out bank or credit card details unless you're confident you know who you're dealing with.

Step 6: Report a scam

If you are suspicious, consider reporting the suspected scammer to the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768. Find out more about scams and how to spot them at the ScamSmart website.

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Wesleyan Assurance Society and Wesleyan Bank Ltd are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd, Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Ltd, Practice Plan Ltd and DPAS Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Advice about investments, insurance and mortgages is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

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