Worrying data from Financial Fraud Action (FFA) has revealed that there were 53% more cases of financial fraud during the first six months of 2016 than for the equivalent period in 2015. Between January and June 2016 there were 1,007,094 reported cases, compared to 12 months earlier.

FFA has now highlighted five key things for consumers to be aware of, and financial advisers could have an important role to play in educating their clients. The key points of the FFA ‘Take Five’ campaign are:

• Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password – it’s never right to reveal these details
• Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine – people aren’t always who they say they are
• Don’t be rushed – a bank or genuine organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think
• Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it
• Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information

Other recent research by agency Censuswide revealed that 26% of consumers would reveal personal information to someone claiming to be from their bank, even if they were not totally sure that the caller was genuine. Fraudulent attempts at collecting personal details can of course be made by telephone, email or any other method.

Katy Worobec, director of FFA UK, said:

“Banks and other financial service providers work hard to protect their customers, using highly sophisticated security systems. Last year, banks stopped £7 in £10 of attempted fraud from happening. But as the banks’ systems get more advanced, fraudsters turn their attention elsewhere and sadly this often means tricking people out of their personal details and money.

“Alongside the banks, people can also play an important part in helping us to stop financial fraud and protect themselves. We are asking people to take five – to take that moment – to pause and think before they respond to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details.”

Home Office Security Minister, Ben Wallace MP, said:

“The impact of financial fraud can be devastating on victims, with fraudsters using increasingly cunning and convincing tactics. They prey on people who are trying to get on with their lives but in a moment where they are busy or distracted become vulnerable. The message of the Take Five campaign is don’t be hurried or hustled, take a moment before you give out any personal information. At the same time, the Government is working closely with law enforcement and the banking sector through the Joint Fraud Taskforce to take action to stop the organised criminals behind financial fraud.”

Ian Dyson, commissioner at City of London Police, said:

“Fraud and cyber-crime account for nearly half of all crime according to the British crime survey and this campaign is aimed at giving people the confidence to think before they act.

“Pausing for that short moment and asking ourselves, ‘is this the safe thing to do’, will go a long way to thwarting the fraudsters that prey on people’s trusting nature. This campaign is one element of the Joint Fraud Taskforce bringing together law enforcement, Government and business to tackle the increase in crime that blights every community across the country.”

As well as educating their clients, financial firms need to be aware of ways in which scammers may target them directly. There have been many cases of advisers receiving email requests which appear to come from their clients, but which are in fact from fraudsters, asking them to facilitate a transfer of funds.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.