Articles - Safeguarding your members savings

Do you automatically trust a brand name? If you see brand names like Amazon, Nike or Google, do you automatically have a feeling of trust? Do you let your guard down as you know who these firms are? If you do then undoubtedly that’s what your members will be thinking too. And that’s what a fraudster wants you, your members, all of us to feel and think - they have you hooked in simply by the use of a household name.

 By Gillian Baker, Financial Risk Management Lead at Hymans Robertson

 Let’s be a bit more specific…..I’m sure that you have heard the tales of a call being received from ‘Microsoft Tech Support’ or ‘BT’ telling you that they need “to fix your computer” or that there is “a problem with your computer, broadband router or internet”? Or, you may well have received an unsolicited email asking you for your credit card information to ‘validate your copy of Windows’? These are two examples of a fraudster trying to seduce us, to steal from you or your members or damage computers or other devices with viruses.

 You may be aware of these criminal tactics, but have you ever warned your pension scheme members of these types of scams and provided advice on how to protect themselves and their savings? If not, then read on….

 What actually happens?
 The fraudster directs their victim to a website to download a tool that allows him or her remote access to the victim’s computer. The fraudster then appears to make a number of ‘fixes’ to the computer when in fact, they are accessing the victim’s personal information, often by installing malware or a virus on the computer.

 Sometimes, the victim may be persuaded to log onto their online banking in order to receive a refund or compensation for the inconvenience caused. This allows the fraudster access to the victim’s bank account, putting their savings, possible pension lump sum or pension income at risk.

 Advice for your members on how to avoid such scams:
 If they are suspicious, advise them to delete the email, close down any pop-ups or hang up the phone – your members should never give out any personal or financial information.

 Advise them never to install any software, or grant remote access to their computer or device, as a result of a cold call.

 If your member has granted remote access to their computer, ask them to seek professional technical support to remove any unwanted software or malware/viruses.

 Your member may be expecting contact from the firm, but if they are in any doubt, your advice to them should be to contact the firm directly using the phone numbers obtained from their contract, their website or other trusted sources.

 If your member has made a payment, ask them to contact their bank immediately to prevent any further losses. Remember, their life savings or retirement fund could be at risk.

 Your members may well say “Oh, this could never happen to me, I would know if I was being duped” but surely it’s better to be safe than sorry and ensure that their hard-earned savings remain intact for later life?

 So, stress to your members that the firms being impersonated warn us all that they do not make unsolicited contact to request personal or financial information, to validate software, to send security updates or to fix your computer. That’s what you would do as a reputable firm so emphasise this to your members; however you communicate to your members, you should be looking to put them on red alert for such scams.  

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