Keeping your account safe. How you can be ScamSmart.

Keeping you safe

The security of your financial assets and your account is of the utmost importance to us. Interactive Investor is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and all our systems and practices not only meet industry requirements but in addition, we have further security procedures of our own, so you can be confident of our commitment to the safety and security of your account and investments at all times.

You can find full details of how we keep your personal information and investments protected in our security centre.

Fraudsters increasingly use emails and calls to try and get you to disclosure personal information. If you are in any doubt whether a call is genuine please hang up and call us on 0345 607 6001.

If you are suspicious about an email that appears to be from us please report it to us. We will never;

  • include attachments unless you have asked us for information or updates
  • include a link in an email which takes you directly to a log in page.
  • ask you for your username or password in an email.
  • ask you for your password and dealing password on the same web page.

Be a 'ScamSmart' investor

The FCA ScamSmart campaign aims to provide you with the information and tools you need to avoid investment scams. You can find more information at www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart

Useful links

www.getsafeonline.org
www.actionfraud.police.uk

Top tips to stay safe on line

Protect your identity when you're onlineCreate strong passwords, change them regularly, don't use the same password for different sites, don't write them down and don't give them to anyone else.
Don't open emails from suspicious sendersIf you receive a suspicious email, don't click on any links or download any attachments.
Keep your computer software up to dateSet your computer to receive automatic updates and the latest versions of operating systems, anti-virus software and internet browsers. A lot of updates include important security fixes.
Turn your computer off when you're not using itIt sounds simple, but it's often overlooked. By turning your computer off, not only will you save on your energy bills but you'll also prevent any unauthorised access while you're away.
Only download software from trusted websitesIf you need to download software, use trusted sources and go directly to their websites instead of downloading from a third party.
Secure your wifi connectionMake sure your wireless broadband router is secured with a strong password, and disconnect it if you don't need it for long periods. Be wary of using free public wifi services if you're entering personal information.
Keep your mobile secureLog out of Apps when you have finished using them. Make sure the password function for your smartphone requires you to input this every time you use your phone and don’t leave your mobile unattended.

 

Other ways to stay safe

Be aware of the different types of potential fraudulent attacks. We’ve outlined below the main types of attack to be aware of and what you can do to protect yourself:

 

 1. 'Boiler room' investment or share sales

What is it? 

The term ‘boiler room’ is used to describe illegal, aggressive misselling of shares that are worthless, vastly overpriced or ones traded in very limited volumes/markets. The purpose of the sales pitch is to defraud investors and it is typically done with a high-pressure approach.

What happens?

These frauds typically start with a phone call from a person posing as a salesperson for shares in companies you are unlikely to have heard of.

Shares sales fraudsters tend to be very persistent and can be very convincing – even providing authentic-looking websites and information for the company shares they are selling. They will frequently offer gifts and free reports and will often succeed by wearing down the investor until they eventually agree to invest.

If you fall foul of this particular type of fraud there is unfortunately little chance of compensation and you are almost certain to lose any money invested. These scams are almost always operated from foreign countries (whatever the salesperson says). This means the fraudsters are not regulated by an authority which might protect or provide compensation for the victim.

What you can do to protect yourself

You should be particularly cautious if any approach to sell investments directly to you is unsolicited, you are being offered unrealistically high returns on investments, and/or you are asked to keep the approach confidential.

You should always check the validity of any scheme you intend to invest in. Pay particular attention if you find it difficult or impossible to get hold of any real evidence of the scheme’s legitimacy, or find that telephone numbers are untraceable mobile/cell numbers.

If you think you may have been approached by a fraudulent sales person you can check on the FCA website to see if the company they claim to be from is legitimate.

If you have any suspicions, you should check with the relevant authority that the company the salesperson claims to represent is on a regulator’s register - and that it is allowed to give financial advice and to make investment sales. If it is not, of you are unable to find this information, you should ignore or terminate any future calls.

Even if the company is on a register, you should not assume that the salesperson actually works for that company. Do your own independent checks and call the firm the salesperson claims to work for on a number not given by the salesperson.  Any genuine salesperson will not mind a customer undertaking their own checks.

2. Identity theft

What is it? 

Identity theft is when someone uses your personal details to pretend to be you, often using them for financial gain.

You can be vulnerable to identity theft on social networking sites and when using other online services, as well as in the real world.

What happens?

Once an identity fraudster has your personal details they can access some or several of your accounts, removing money or buying services or goods which you are charged for but, never see.

What you can do to protect yourself

There are a number of precautions you can take, both online and offline, to make sure no one gets hold of your personal details.

Protecting yourself online and on the phone

  • Create strong passwords and usernames – with numbers and lower and upper case letters
  • Use different details for different account logins and never disclose them to anyone
  • Verify who you’re speaking to on the phone or online
  • Check your bank and trading statements regularly and report any transactions you don’t recognise
  • Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ if you think someone is trying to trick you out of information
  • Avoid using the auto-complete option when filling in forms online – your browser stores your details to do this and that information is easy for thieves to access.
  • Don’t post personal details on chat rooms, forums or social networking sites
  • If you use internet cafes, make sure no one can see any screens showing personal details, and always log off from accounts if you move away from your computer

Password Management

  • Create strong passwords and usernames – with numbers and lower and upper case letters
  • Don't choose words or dates obviously associated with you - people can often find out a lot about you online – from your date of birth to your pet's name.
  • Don’t rely on words that can be found in a dictionary – hacking algorithms usually use dictionary entries as the first  line of attack.
  • Use a mixture of unusual characters - you can use a word or phrase that you can easily remember but with replaced characters, eg, Myd0gha5N0n05e!.
  • Have different passwords for different sites and systems - if one account gets compromised, this does not give automatic access to all your other accounts.
  • Keep your passwords safe - writing them down can be highly insecure.
  • Consider changing your passwords on a regular basis – many experts recommend a monthly password change.

Protecting yourself offline

  • Read your bank statement as soon as you receive it and report any transactions you don’t recognise.
  • Check any statements carefully and securely store statements, bills and confidential letters.
  • Shred personal information you want to throw away – a common way fraudsters get hold of people’s details isn’t online, but by going through their rubbish.
  • Redirect your post using the Royal Mail Redirection Service if you move home.
  • Shield your PIN when using Cashpoints or in shops
  • Don’t use a cashpoint if you suspect it’s been tampered with – signs include anything sticking out of, or a sticky substance around, the card slot.
  • Consider obtaining credit reference reports from providers such as Experian

3. Malware

What is it? 

Malware is the term used for any kind of software that is designed to be used by attackers to gather your personal information (for malicious intent) or cause disruption to your computer or systems in some way.

Even with anti-virus software and firewalls, malware can sometimes get through to cause damage to your computer, track what you do online and give criminals access to your security details. Types of malware include:

  • Computer viruses software programmes which have the potential to damage your computer and, in some cases, track what you do online passing back information and security details to hackers. You might notice a virus on your computer if it starts behaving uncharacteristically, or you notice changes you can’t account for. For example it may slow down significantly, you may notice that files have been changed or deleted, or you may see messages and pop ups (or even music playing) that you haven’t initiated.

  • Anti-virus software is specifically designed to protect your computer against viruses.

  • Trojans – are software programmes that pretend to be something they are not. Essentially they are harmful programs, often disguised as downloadable files such as screensavers, tools or applications.
  • Spyware - secretly tracks what you do online to get information about your browsing habits, and might display unwanted advertising, while Adware installs pop-ups and advertising on your computer. Spyware and adware can be relatively harmless, but they can scan your hard disk to get your personal details and can slow down your computer.
  • Scareware – is designed to trick you into installing malware. Typically by delivering pop ups which tell you your computer is infected and inviting you to buy software to remove the issue. In reality the software you buy is likely to contain malware

 

What you can do to protect yourself?

To protect you from any type of computer virus you should always be cautious about sites you visit, links you click on, and any files you download or install – especially if you haven’t requested them.

  • Ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed
  • Use the latest version of any software you use, such as your internet browser
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading files from sources you don’t know, haven’t requested or aren’t confident about

Only buy software from sources you trust.