Scammers don’t care whether you’re an experienced investor or have never put your money anywhere other than a bank. They will try to anything to pressure you into handing over your hard-earned cash, leaving you with nothing but a hefty tax bill.

So, in this article, we’ll look at those tell-tale warning signs that scammers have you in their sights, and the most common tactics they’ll use to try to con you out of your savings.

The impersonal touch

First of all, be very wary of cold calls, text messages, emails, website pop-ups or even door to door salespeople offering a “free pension review”, “one-off investment opportunity” or “legal loophole”.

Properly established and reputable financial services companies in general don’t tout for new customers in this way – so that should be an immediate red flag.

Too good to be true?

I know it’s a cliché, but most clichés are based in truth, so if it sounds “too good to be true” then the overwhelming odds are that it’s bogus. Don’t be taken in by convincing marketing materials, including glossy brochures and expensive-looking websites, that promise high returns on your investment.

Under pressure

We’ve heard of people who have had paperwork delivered to their door by courier and told they need to sign a document immediately. No reputable company would ever do this, so never feel pressured to sign anything until you’ve given it careful consideration and, where appropriate, sought professional advice.

Diversification is the key

Since the dawn of financial services the mantra “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has rung true, so any proposal to put all your savings into a single investment should set the alarm bells ringing. It just isn’t a sound strategy – diversification of your investments is always the better option.

Keep it UK-based 

Even if you’re deep into a financial arrangement, as soon as the words “overseas transfer of funds” are uttered it’s time for a re-think. Once your money leaves the UK it will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to ever recover.

Don’t be rushed

If anyone tells you that a money transfer needs to be made quickly to take advantage of a narrow opportunity to invest this is a strong sign that you’re being scammed. As mentioned above, no reputable financial services adviser would ever ask you to do this. 

By Andrew Brown, Chartered Wealth Manager and Director at Thomas Westcott Chartered Financial Planners.