Financial fraud is a very real concern for fintechs and online investors. Rick Duncan, head of marketing at Wellesley, explains how to avoid it…
ERADICATING ONLINE fraud has been a central focus for fintech companies for many years, and Wellesley is no exception. With the launch of its new investment platform and listed bond offerings, the former peer-to-peer lender is speaking out to educate retail investors on how they can manage their money online without becoming a target for fraudsters.
“People shouldn’t be frightened of fraudsters, but they need to be diligent,” says Rick Duncan, head of marketing at Wellesley. “When walking into your bank branch you can be confident that you are speaking to the right person but online you need to be more vigilant and spend a little more time.
“We do everything we possibly can to keep our customers and everyone who searches for us as safe as possible,” adds Duncan. “At Wellesley, we understand that customers want reassurance and we believe in the education of our customers.”
Unfortunately, fraudsters are always finding new techniques to dupe people out of their money, and while Wellesley has its own fraud prevention measures in place, investors still need to exercise caution to avoid some of the most common online scams.
“It’s very easy to copy someone’s email address and to hide links within the message,”
Duncan warns. “If you have any doubt about a link in an email, hover over it to view the address.” Duncan also warns that fraudsters will often create email addresses that are extremely similar to the real thing. “Always double-check the address that appears after the @ symbol,” he adds.
“If it claims to be from a financial firm, check their website to find the standard format of their email address and compare it with what you have received.”
When browsing the internet or visiting the website of a financial company for the first time, Duncan urges people to always look for the padlock symbol on their browser. If there is no padlock, then you should not continue.
He also advises users to look carefully at the web address, as some scammers use very similar URLs to trick people into thinking that they are visiting a reputable site. For instance, a fraudster could set up a website that has the company name, but ends in org.com, rather than .com. This is easy to miss unless you are looking carefully.
Duncan adds that users should always be cautious in disclosing bank details, and to never offer your password to any company or person, other than to log into an existing account.
When you see a tempting advert about an investment opportunity, always do your research before clicking, Duncan says.
Check out the company’s website, reviews on Trustpilot and Companies House listings to ensure that it is genuine. Always check that the company is registered with the regulator by searching for them on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) website.
If you are buying an investment product, check that it is regulated by a recognised financial authority. All listed bonds have a prospectus which can be read online as part of their stock exchange listing, and if you are searching for a P2P product, make sure it is being offered by an FCA-registered company.
“Generally speaking, if you are contacted about something that seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says Duncan. “Remember, the higher the returns, the higher the risk. Fraud is still rare and if customers are diligent and take sufficient time, they should stay safe.”