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Financial scams!

Iím certainly no financial adviser, but my policing bones would suggest that we are in for a period of financial scams! From April 2015 the rules surrounding pension funds changed and there are now more choices than ever before about how you can access your pension pot. Fraudsters are likely to take advantage of these new rules by trying to persuade people to cash in their pension - either the whole lot or a large sum - and hand the money over to them Ďto investí.

There are different types of pension scam but they can all lead to you losing a lifetimeís worth of savings in a moment. You can be sure that if some of these unscrupulous characters think youíve suddenly come into a sum of money, they will be keen to help you spend it!

Watch out particularly for people contacting you out of the blue or adverts claiming to offer free pension reviews or no-obligation consultations. Investment scams can look and sound believable, with smooth-talking salespeople, slick websites or sophisticated brochures and prospectuses. This can make it hard to tell them apart from genuine investment opportunities.

Not everyone is trying to defraud you or con you out of your money, but just be aware that if something seems to be too good to be true, it quite possibly is. Be on high alert and donít be afraid to say no or put the phone down!

Of course, itís not just your pension money that the crooks are after. Rogue traders specifically target those who they consider to be vulnerable within our communities. They will often offer to carry out repairs, vastly overcharging for unnecessary, shoddy or even non-existent work - and there are no guarantees, assuming you can find these people again.

Don't open the door to anyone before you've checked who it is - look out of the window or use a spy hole in your door. Donít be afraid to ignore the doorbell if you wish Ė thereís no law that says you have to open the door!

If you open the door, keep the chain on while you find out who is calling and what they want. If you're not expecting someone and you don't know them, don't let them into your home, no matter what they say to you. If a caller is genuine they will understand your concerns.

If you think you do need to have work done to your home, ask for quotes from two or three reputable companies. Ask your friends, neighbours or relatives who may be able to recommend companies or trades people.

Please be vigilant if you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours and report your concerns to the police. You may have been wise enough to turn away the unsolicited caller, but your neighbours may be grateful that you reported the incident to save them from becoming a victim.

If youíve information about any crime, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, or log on to www.crimestoppers-uk.org where you can also give information without anyone knowing who you are. Your call is free, no one will know you called and you may earn a cash reward. You can also follow me on twitter @HantsCrimestopp

PC Simon Wright

Article posted on: 02 April 2015

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