Distance selling - fraudulent use of your payment card
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One of our clients has asked for help to fill in forms for an insurance policy. Mr W explained that he had been “cold called” by an Insurance firm. Mr W was thinking about setting up a policy to reimburse one of his children, when he dies, for extra funeral expenses.
Mr W had been sent photocopies of information and forms for a Discretionary Trust, appearing to be from a reputable and well known insurance company. He has already set up a Direct Debit on his bank account, even though he has not filled in the forms or signed any paperwork.
At Citizens Advice it seemed very unlikely that any reputable company would ask or expect any money payments to be set up before the return of the relevant documents.
What options did we discuss with Mr W?
As advisers, we are not qualified to fill in a Trust form nor to give the in depth financial advice the client needs. We did explain that we thought that to be filling in a Direct Debit (DD) before the agreement was in place was “suspicious”. At Citizens Advice Bracknell & District we are fortunate to have a pro bono solicitor specialising in Wills, Probate, Trusts, Power of Attorney, Inheritance Tax and Estate Planning. We have offered Mr W an appointment to discuss the best way to make sure his daughter will receive the money he wants her to have. Mr W has decided to take up this offer AND to cancel his DD arrangement at once.
If you are “cold called” by any company – whether it is to do with financial matters (such as insurance, pensions, tax refunds, PPI, bank charges refunds or investment schemes), or offering to do home repairs, extra home insulation or any other services which may involve money, then the advice is – don’t agree to anything.
If you need help or need to find someone to provide you with such a service, phone a reputable company yourself. For trades people, such as plumbers, roof repairers, etc, use Checkatrade www.checkatrade.com/ For financial information see: www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart or www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z_of_fraud
If you do discover you have been “scammed” REPORT it!
You may save someone else from being similarly defrauded. Do not feel you must hide it – everybody is vulnerable to such people. Spotting a scam: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/spotting-a-scam