Keep your finances and personal data safe

The protection of our customer's data is extremely important to us. Unity Mutual will continue to adapt and update its cyber security measures to ensure the on-going protection of your data. 

Stay safe from fraud, scams and cyber attacks

Although Unity Mutual remains vigilant and up-to-date on the latest financial crime strategies being used to target companies and individuals, it’s wise to take your own precautions to protect yourself. We have provided some simple steps below which we feel will help keep you safe from fraud, scams and cyber attacks.  

Please note, some of the links here lead to external sites. We believe they provide useful information, but we cannot always guarantee their accuracy and we take no responsibility for their content.

How Brexit may affect your financial protection.

The FCA have published an article for consumers who may be worried about how Brexit may affect their financial protection.

The information below has been sourced from their website at https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/how-brexit-could-affect-you 

If an implementation period goes ahead, financial products which are currently protected will continue to be protected under existing schemes including the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS protects you if a firm becomes insolvent. The Financial Ombudsman Service will also continue to apply as before. The Ombudsman Service helps settle disputes between customers and providers.

If there is no implementation period, the Ombudsman Service and the FSCS will continue to cover customers of UK providers operating in the UK.

We are also proposing that the Ombudsman Service will cover EEA providers that enter the temporary permissions regime. Most EEA providers offering UK-based consumers with financial products and services are not covered by the FSCS. Under the temporary permissions regime, we propose to extend the reach of FSCS cover so that, for most cases, EEA providers will be covered. However, this may depend on whether the firm has a presence in the UK or not. 

Staying safe from scams

During this period of uncertainty there is a greater risk of scams. Here are some tips to protect yourself from being scammed:

  • beware of all unexpected calls, emails and text messages
  • a genuine bank or organisation will not ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account
  • never give out your personal or financial details unless it’s for a service you want to use, and where you trust the provider
  • don’t be pressured into acting quickly – a genuine bank or financial services firm won’t mind giving you time to think
  • always double-check the web link and company contact details in case it’s a ‘clone firm’ pretending to be a real firm
  • if you get an email, expand the pane at the top of the message and see exactly who it has come from – if it’s a scam, the email address of the sender may be filled with random numbers or be misspelled
  • beware that fraudsters can ‘clone’ these email addresses to make their emails seem genuine

Your provider may want to inform you of changes to your financial product or service in the lead up to exit day.

If you have any doubts at all about what you are being asked to do, check with your provider. Always use contact details you can trust, for example the phone number on your bank statement or policy documentation. You can check if a financial services firm is FCA authorised by checking the Register for all authorised companies. Visit our ScamSmart pages for advice about staying safe when talking about your finances.

Further information

The Government has published a range of a guidance and notices for Brexit on a wide range of topics, including financial services.

If you are concerned about how a no-deal Brexit could affect your private pension, State Pension or annuity, The Pensions Advisory Service (part of the government-backed Single Financial Guidance Body) have developed a series of frequently asked questions both for residents of the UK and EU. If you have any pension-related questions,  the Pensions Advisory Service provide a free helpline 0800 011 3797 and webchat service on their website.

The FSCS has published Brexit freqently asked questions which may help you understand how your FSCS protections might be affected if there is no deal. If you would like more information about FSCS protection for your financial services product, please contact your firm directly. To speak to the FSCS directly, you can contact the FSCS on their website or call 0800 678 1100.

Be a 'ScamSmart' investor - avoid investment and pension scams

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have launched a new campaign - ScamSmart - to increase consumer awareness of investment scams and the common tactics fraudsters use.

It stresses the importance of rejecting unsolicited offers and getting impartial advice.

You can also check the 'FCA Warning List' before making an investment, to ensure the company or product you are thinking of investing in is legitimate.

For further information on all of the above visit the FCA's website.

Keep your personal information secure
  • Regularly obtain a copy of your personal credit file from one of the three credit reference agencies to see which financial organisations have accessed your details, particularly two to three months after you have moved house. (See more details below.)
  • Be extra careful if you live in a property where other people could have access to your mail. Sometimes bank or credit card companies can arrange for you to collect valuable items such as new plastic cards or cheque books from a local branch.
  • If you suspect your mail is being stolen, contact Royal Mail's Customer Enquiries (www.royalmail.com). Check whether a mail redirection order has been made in your name without your knowledge.
  • If you move house, tell your bank, card issuer and all other organisations that you deal with immediately. Ask Royal Mail to redirect any mail from your old address to your new one for at least a year.
  • Consider using the Mailing Preference Service (www.mpsonline.org.uk/mpsr) limit the amount of unwanted mail you receive.
Keep all your bank cards safe
  • If your bank cards are lost or stolen, cancel them immediately. Keep a note of the emergency numbers you should call. Find out more at Card Watch (www.cardwatch.org.uk).
  • When giving your card details or personal information over the phone, internet or in a shop, make sure other people can’t hear or see your personal information.
  • Never carry documents or cards unnecessarily, and keep them somewhere safe.
  • If you have a contactless card, remember that other people can use it too. Make sure your card is kept in a safe place or with you.
Keep your documents safe
  • Keep your personal documents in a safe place, preferably in a lockable drawer or cabinet at home. Consider storing valuable financial documents such as share certificates with your bank.
  • If your passport or driving licence has been lost or stolen contact the issuing organisation immediately.
  • Don’t throw away entire bills, receipts, credit or debit card slips, bank statements or even unwanted post in your name. Destroy unwanted documents, preferably by using a shredder.
  • Check statements as soon as they arrive. If any unfamiliar transactions are listed, contact the company concerned immediately.
Keep your password and PINs safe
  • Never give personal or account details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly. Be suspicious even if they claim to be from your bank or the police. Ask for their phone number, check it’s genuine and, if so, call them back. Be aware that a bank will never ask for your PIN or for a whole security number or password. Keep them secure.
  • Don’t use the same password for more than one account and never use banking passwords for any other websites. Using different passwords increases security and makes it less likely that someone could access any other accounts.
  • Keep your passwords safe and never record or store them in a way that leaves them open to theft, such as in your purse or wallet.
  • If you receive a suspicious email purporting to be from a bona fide institution which requests personal details, please visit Financial Fraud Action UK (www.financialfraudaction.org.uk/consumer/advice) provided by the banking industry.
  • In addition, Get Safe Online (www.getsafeonline.org.uk) gives advice on how to stay safe online and how to protect your computer and the personal information it contains. This includes advice about how to dispose of unwanted computers. This website has been developed by the government, police and industry.
Protect the identity of family members who have died

Criminals sometimes use the identities of people who have died to commit fraud, which can be very distressing for relatives. One way of reducing the chances of this happening is to register with services that remove a dead person’s details from mailing lists:

  • The Bereavement Register (www.thebereavementregister.org.uk)
  • Deceased Preference Service (www.deceasedpreferenceservice.co.uk)
  • Mailing Preference Service (www.mpsonline.org.uk/mpsr)
  • Telephone Preference Service (www.tpsonline.org.uk)
Identity theft - what if it happens to you?

It’s important to act quickly if important documents are ever lost or stolen. You may become a victim of identity theft if:

  • you have lost or had stolen important documents such as your passport or driving licence
  • post expected from your bank has not yet arrived or you are receiving no post at all.

 If you lose any important mail or documents, tell the relevant organisations. If you've lost your passport or driving licence, visit the Home Office website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office.

It's a vast site, but you can use its search function to find out what you need to do. For mail, Royal Mail Customer Services (www.royalmail.com) provides a host of options to redirect your mail and to report the loss or theft of any mail.

Warning signs

You may already be a victim of identity theft if:

  • You identify entries on your personal credit file from organisations you do not normally deal with.
  • Items have appeared on your bank or credit card statements that you do not recognise.
  • You applied for a state benefit but are told that you are already claiming.
  • You receive bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods or services you haven’t asked for.
  • You have been refused a financial service, such as a credit card or a loan, despite having a good credit history.
  • A mobile phone contract has been set up in your name without your knowledge.
  • You have received letters from solicitors or debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.
  • Financial institutions that you do not normally deal with contact you to chase an outstanding debt.
Credit reports

Getting hold of a copy of your credit file from the following credit reference agencies can help you identify suspicious activities:

  • Call credit (www.callcredit.co.uk)
  • Experian (www.experian.co.uk)

If you find entries relating to organisations you don’t normally deal with, contact them immediately. Keep a record of all your actions, including who you spoke to and when, and copies of letters sent and received. The credit reference agencies may be able to help you with this.

Reporting fraud

If you believe you’re a victim of identity fraud involving bank cards, online banking, or cheques, go straight to the financial institution concerned. They will then be responsible for investing matters, and if need be reporting cases of criminal activity directly to the police. (Note that that this process is applicable to England, Wales and Northern Ireland only.)

If the identity fraud didn’t involve the use of cards, online banking or cheques you should still report the matter to the relevant organisation first and, depending on what they advise, to your local police station.

'Action Fraud' is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime.

Consider registering with the CIFAS Protective Registration Service (www.cifas.org.uk/pr_for_individuals). CIFAS Protective You can register your address if you have good reason to believe it may be used by a fraudster, for example, when a passport has been stolen.

Looking for more information?

General advice on staying safe:

  • Home Office - (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office)
  • Crimestoppers – details of how to report crimes, with the option of reporting anonymously. (www.crimestoppers-uk.org)
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office – tips for keeping your documents and money safe while travelling. (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office)
  • Get Safe Online – advice on how to protect yourself against internet threats. (www.getsafeonline.org)

 

Advice and information about cybersecurity and fraud:

  • Financial Fraud Action (UK) – responsible for leading the collective fight against financial fraud on behalf of the UK payments industry. (www.financialfraudaction.org.uk)
  • British Bankers’ Association – general consumer advice for banking-related products and services. (www.bba.org.uk)
  • CardWatch – information and tips on using your plastic cards safely. (www.cardwatch.org.uk)
  • CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, with information about identity fraud and how to apply for protective registration. (www.cifas.org.uk/identity_fraud)
  • HM Government Cyber Aware – find out about easy steps you can take to protect your home or business from cyber crime. (www.cyberaware.gov.uk)
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – 10 steps to make sure you are dealing with an authorised firm, and to protect yourself from scams, fraud and unauthorised activity. (www.fca.org.uk/consumers/avoid-scams-unauthorised-firms)

For further information on how Unity Mutual is protecting your data please contact us.

 

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