It’s not just pensions and investments or your computer that fraudsters target.
These are some of the other ways the unscrupulous might try to part you from your hard-earned cash.
“You’ve won the lottery.”
If you get a letter or text saying you’ve won the lottery and should call a number to get your prize – don’t. This is not how the National Lottery operates.
Fraudsters operate extortionate premium phone lines and this is how they get your cash. Block unwanted numbers and call 0207 291 3310 to limit unwanted mail.
“Your roof needs mending.”
Beware bogus tradespeople who say you need emergency repairs done to your home.
If you think they might be genuine, get their company name, number and address, and ask for references. Then call them back when you’ve checked them out.
Don’t respond to pressure.
“I need to read your meter.”
Always thoroughly check ID before letting someone into your home. A bogus official could be a burglar.
Make sure visits are prearranged and ask utility providers to use a password when they call.
Putting up a sign saying “No cold callers” should deter some unwanted visitors.
“I’m collecting for a good cause.”
Fundraisers should also have ID and be able to give you a charity number you can check with the Charity Commission via gov.uk/find-charity-information
“Your bank account has been compromised.”
If you get a call or email saying there’s an issue with your bank account, NEVER give personal details in reply. Hang up the phone, or ignore the email, then call your bank.
You can register with the Telephone Preference Service on 0345 0700 707 to reduce unwanted calls.
“Your computer has a virus.”
If you get a call or email saying there’s a virus on your PC, even if it claims to be from Microsoft, hang up or ignore it.
The caller or sender wants access to your files so they can steal personal data, such as bank details. Do not engage or give information.
“Get cash from your home.”
Always make sure your equity release adviser is legit. Check that their company is registered with the Equity Release Council. You can do so here
Beware anyone who doesn’t offer the no negative equity guarantee, doesn’t talk you through all your options - such as downsizing - and doesn’t encourage you to discuss releasing equity with your family.
This is why you should only discuss equity release with reputable companies, such as Key.
Our advisers are fully qualified and provide a face-to-face service, so you get to meet and build trust with the people you’re dealing with.
What’s more, because we’re completely independent, we can search the whole of the market to find the best deal for you. And, if equity release isn’t right for you, your Key adviser will tell you so.
Remember, good advice is Key.
Things to consider
Our independent, specialist equity release advisers compare products from the whole of the market to find the most suitable equity release plan for you. They’ll discuss all the options available to you and explain that taking an equity release plan reduces the value of your estate and may affect any means-tested benefits you’re eligible for.
With a lifetime mortgage; the most popular form of equity release, you’ll still own your home. As with any kind of mortgage, it’s a loan secured against your home that is repaid when you or the last surviving applicant pass away or move into long-term care. All equity release plans we recommend have a no negative equity guarantee, which means you’ll never owe more than the value of your home.
You should always think carefully before securing a loan against your home.
You have to get expert advice before releasing equity; it’s a regulatory requirement. The initial consultation is free with no obligation to proceed. If you decide to go ahead with an equity release plan, our advice fee – usually 1.99% of the amount released, subject to a minimum of £1,499 – is payable only on completion.