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Your Later Life 2020

How to protect yourself from coronavirus-related fraud

Image: City of London Police

Commander Karen Baxter

National Lead for Fraud, City of London Police

The City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the public to be alert as criminals continue to exploit coronavirus to commit fraud.


Updated figures show there have been over 2,850 reports to Action Fraud on COVID-19 related fraud as of 07 July 2020, with total losses of £11,316,266 million.

What scams are we seeing?

The majority of reports are related to online shopping scams, where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products that have never arrived. In a lot of cases, if they have arrived, they have been sub-standard.

Other frauds being reported include ticket fraud, romance fraud, advance fee fraud and rental fraud. Examples of these scams include criminals posting fake adverts of pets for sale and getting victims to pay a deposit for the animal, that in fact, does not exist.

How you can protect yourself

1) Watch out for scam messages

Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails or texts, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

2) Do your research when shopping online

If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase.

Remember to look at reviews for the site or seller to see if other people have experienced any issues.

If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

3) Protect your devices from the latest threats

Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats.

There have been over 2,850 reports to Action Fraud on COVID-19 related fraud as of 07 July 2020, with total losses of £11,316,266 million.

How you can help

In April, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) launched the pioneering ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’, developed in partnership with the City of London Police. The service makes it easier than ever to flag suspicious emails – including those related to coronavirus.

Members of the public can send their suspicious emails to [email protected] and the NCSC’s automated programme will immediately test the validity of the site. Any sites found to be phishing scams will be removed immediately.

As well as taking down malicious sites, the service will support the police by providing live time analysis of reports and identifying new patterns in online offending – helping them stop even more offenders in their tracks.

Empowering people to simply forward questionable emails to [email protected] meant that, within just 24 hours of the service launching, more than 80 scam URLs were taken down after 5,000 suspicious emails were flagged, helping to prevent future victims of crime. Since then, more than 672,000 reports have come in, leading to over 5,000 previously unknown phishing URLs being removed.

There are various examples of what has been taken down with the help of the reporting service, including scam web pages featuring mock-ups of official Gov.uk and TV licensing websites, plus web pages purporting to sell coronavirus linked bogus products such as testing kits, face masks and even vaccines.

Technology is helping us keep connected during coronavirus, but it is sometimes exploited by criminals.

The fact the public have taken the opportunity with this new email reporting service to fight back and show these criminals how unacceptable this is, is fantastic.

Fraud is an incredibly underreported crime. The more the police know about fraud, and fraud attempts, the better chance they have of tracking down those responsible and bringing them to justice.

If you have lost money, you should tell your bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

For more information on the latest coronavirus-related scams and news, please visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/covid19

For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/shoponlinesafely

For information on how to update your devices, please visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/securing-your-devices

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Why you CAN apply for a mortgage in later life

Steve Robinson

Head of Lending, Marsden Building Society

It might surprise you but applying for a mortgage in later life isn’t out of bounds. In fact, those in later life can apply for a mortgage to buy a new home, remortgage an existing property or release funds to help children or grandchildren onto the property ladder.


Steve Robinson, Head of Lending at the Marsden Building Society, says that a growing number of lenders offer mortgages for the over 50s.

“This reflects how people’s lifestyles have changed,” he says. “And, of course, we’re all living a lot longer.”

There are lots of reasons why an older borrower may be interested in taking out a retirement mortgage.

The plus for most older borrowers is that they’re likely to have a more-or-less guaranteed pension income.

And it’s not just to transfer a current mortgage, older borrowers can take on a new mortgage and can borrow for a variety of personal reasons, supporting their lifestyle or loved ones.

Robinson admits, however, that the definition of a ‘retirement mortgage’ can mean different things to different lenders.

“From our perspective, applicants need to be aged 55 or over, either in retirement or very close to it, ” he says.

“Everyone’s circumstances are different, so it’s important to get the right advice and make sure the mortgage is tailored to your individual needs to make sure it’s affordable, both now and in the future.”

How much you can borrow will depend on your circumstances but, in the case of the Marsden, they’ll consider applicants from the age of 55 to the age of 85, opening up options for borrowers in later life.

What potential borrowers can expect on application

When applying for a retirement mortgage, older borrowers can expect lenders to carry out a full affordability assessment.

“It’s important to work out what the applicant’s income is, what their commitments are and if they can afford to make mortgage payments comfortably,” says Robinson.

“As with any mortgage, the property is valued, and a credit search is performed to make sure they are up-to-date with their commitments.”

But aren’t retirement mortgages a risk for both lender and borrower? After all, the clue is in the name: the mortgagor isn’t working anymore, so not generating an income.

“The plus for most older borrowers is that they’re likely to have a more-or-less guaranteed pension income,” says Robinson. “They may also have investments and, if they own a buy-to-let-property, rental income that we can take into consideration.

“There’s a lot more certainty about the income generated by people in later life. And, because they’re a little bit older, they’ve usually had a mortgage before, so understand how it works and what the commitment is.”

A change in circumstance is a key risk in later life, so finding a lender experienced in retirement mortgages is important. It’s not just about the help you receive in arranging your mortgage, but the ongoing support the lender will provide throughout the life of the mortgage. Circumstances can and will change, so you want to feel confident that help with always be there.

To find out more about the retirement mortgages the Marsden can offer, visit themarsden.co.uk/your-later-life or call 01282 440537*
Your Home May Be Repossessed If You Do Not Keep Up Repayments On Your Mortgage
*Calls will be recorded and may be monitored

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