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Beware the Scammer

Life insurance is an important tool for financial security. But alongside legitimate offerings, there lurk scams that threaten consumers' well-being.

Common types of life insurance scams

Online scams

With us relying more and more on the internet, online scams – or phishing – have become very common. In a report [1], Ofcom found that nearly nine in ten adult internet users (87%) have encountered content online that they believed to be a scam or fraud.

When it comes to your life insurance it can be devastating to find out the policy you thought you had doesn’t exist, whether it be you that finds out or your family.

Online scams range from dodgy emails to fake websites or ads, all usually promising the world for little money. Sadly, scammers have become smarter; sometimes their websites can look almost identical to the real thing, and emails can have the smallest differences. 

In the insurance world, there are also scammers known as ‘ghost brokers’. These are non-regulated people who will ‘sell’ you insurance and forge documents to make you believe you have some kind of policy when in reality you don’t. 

Telephone scams

We’ve all been there, sipping a cup of coffee when you receive a call from a number you don't recognise. And with the fancy technology we have nowadays a lot of phones can now tell you if you’re receiving a suspected scam call. But sometimes we will take that chance and answer, and sometimes we might genuinely believe our insurer is telling us there’s a problem with our policy. They might ask for admin fees to sort it or tell you that your premium was meant to be a lot more than what it is.

In-person scams

If someone walks up to you and offers you a life insurance policy, it can sometimes feel hard to say no when that person is directly in front of you. They may pressure you to provide personal details and payment upfront, which can feel like a difficult situation to get out of in the moment.

How to stay safe if you suspect a scam

If you think someone is trying to scam you, here are some do’s and do not’s:

Do

Do not

Make sure all of your accounts have strong passwords, and keep them safe (some websites will require multi-factor authentication, this is where they will send you a code either via text or through an app to add an extra layer of security).

Click on any links in emails, texts or websites.

Check with your real insurance provider or bank whether they’ve tried to contact you.

 

Answer the phone if you don’t recognise the number.

 

Check the FCA website [2] to confirm whether the broker is regulated.

Give any money to companies or brokers until you are 100% sure they are legitimate.

I've fallen victim to a scam, what should I do next?

If you’re worried you may have fallen victim to a scam, there are a few things you’ll need to do:

  • If you feel like you’re being threatened report this to the police immediately by calling 999.

  • If someone tried to contact you keep a note of things like the phone number they called from, where they were calling from, their name and the time of the call.

  • If you gave them access to your computer remotely change all of your passwords, let your bank know you could have had information stolen from you and make sure you have anti-virus installed.

  • If you’ve transferred money call 101 immediately.  This number is for situations that don't need an immediate response such as fire or accident.

  • If they took your details contact Action Fraud [2] and the FCA [2] with any details.

  • If they pretended to be your insurance provider, contact your actual provider to let them know, again, passing over any details you have about that contact.

  • Talk to someone. Getting scammed can be humiliating and scary so making sure you talk to someone about how you feel is important. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your family or friends you can contact Samaritans or Victim Support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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