Established brands are often targeted by fraudsters to add the appearance of legitimacy to their crimes. This can take many forms but often fraudsters will impersonate representatives of the company. They will frequently use falsified or copied material (documentation, email addresses, websites etc.) that uses the branding and intellectual property of the company as a tool for such impersonation.
Fraudsters have numerous methods for trying to get their hands on our cash. One that is becoming increasingly common is the fake or cloned website. These sites look like the real thing and may even have a web address that is very similar to a well-known site, such as the one operated by your bank or financial advisor. On closer inspection, however, the differences can be spotted, which it is why it is so important to remain vigilant – especially when you see links to sites you regularly visit.
How to stay safe
- Get the web address from official correspondence you have with the company and type it in yourself, rather than clicking on a link sent via email or text.
- If you are searching for a government service online, the genuine web address should begin with “https://www.gov.uk…”.
- When you click through to a genuine site, you should also see a padlock symbol to the left-hand side of the address bar.
- This applies to genuine retailers as well: when you reach payment pages, if not before, the address should begin with “https” and the padlock symbol should be displayed.
- You can check if a financial services firm is authorised by FCA, by checking on https://register.fca.org.uk/ . To verify the identity of an authorised firm, ask for its FRN and contact details, but always call them back on the switchboard number given on the FCA Register.
- You should access the FCA Register directly from https://register.fca.org.uk/ rather than through links in emails or on the website of a firm offering you an investment. Also check the address of the website is correct and there are not subtle changes that mean it is a fake.
- The UK consumer group ‘Which?’ has also published simple, straightforward advice on their website regarding how to spot a scam.
- You can find out more about how to protect yourself from investment fraud on the Take Five website.
If you have been scammed
If you have been scammed or contacted by an unauthorised firm – or a firm you suspect is not legitimate – you can report this to FCA by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.
You should also report your experience to ActionFraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.
If you believe you have been sent a fake link purporting to be to Slater Investments’ website, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 207 220 9460.
Thank you and stay vigilant.