THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

TODAY’S BLOG

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

This is an increasingly common tale. It is one about a scam, one that you really should be aware of. Scammers generally take two basic guises – a confidence trickster and an expert in a subject you do not understand enough about. This scam is the latter. It is about technology, something that you and I use, but probably have vague or general understanding of, because we do not really know how it works – simply that it does work.

The scam takes the form of a phone call from someone working at your broadband supplier. The truth is probably that you are with one of a handful of broadband companies, there is a high chance of mentioning any one of them that you are a customer. At this point the caller can either effectively politely end the call or has reassured you that you are dealing with an existing supplier.

BROADBAND SCAMS

HELPFUL HARMFUL AND HORRENDOUS

The caller informs you that your broadband is not working as well as it should, and they can help make it faster. Who of us does not want faster broadband? (irrespective of the inaccurate promise on the tin). Help is at hand if you download an app and place your phone near your router so that the performance can be monitored (how helpful right!). You comply and are informed that you are due a refund for poor performance (good news) so a code is provided to enable payment to your bank. You are kept on the phone, which whilst you think to yourself is a little frustrating and a little ironic in the age of high technology, you are of course getting something in exchange – a refund and faster broadband. You wait. At some point you are insulted as a muggle or something similar, and the caller hangs up. You have an immediate rush of realisation and call your bank to discover that it has been emptied. Emptied! Just hold that feeling a moment before reading further. Your bank account emptied….

You did not authorise a withdrawal, you were expecting a credit. Your bank may or may not be impressed and act accordingly. It is international fraud and not within the FCA jurisdiction.

NOT MERELY BASED ON A TRUE STORY, IT IS A TRUE STORY

The above is an abridged true story that another adviser shared with me, it happened very recently. Please do not accept the information that a caller provides you with. Anyone calling from one of your suppliers should know some rather basic information from you, be that your name, address and account number (for the service). Do not give them any of your time. Do not download anything that you have not understood sufficiently. Never reveal your bank information over the phone, guard it as though you would your prized possessions.

#*&^(:jh:d!!

There are many words for scammers, if you are ever victim of one, you will think of many of them. You are not a fool. You have been fooled and we all can be (look at how we vote!). However, you must act. Most scams offer the promise of more money or improved service. Rare is the day that these come without cost. They are never free.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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THE SKY’S THE LIMIT2020-09-07T16:14:25+01:00

KING OF THIEVES

King of Thieves

The movie world is full of theft and deception at the moment, perhaps this is symptomatic of the current state of global politics. This movie, The King of Thieves is yet another film about a real event. This time the Hatton Garden robbery during Easter 2015. You may recall the news items that showed clips of some rather concerned customers who feared and claimed to have lost millions in a robbery that was committed over the Easter weekend, when everyone was on holiday. The initial view was that the crime was perpetrated by a well-organised international gang of jewel thieves. In practice, it was some experience burglars, who were some significant way into their “retirement” and even went to the scene using their own pensioner bus pass.

The casting for the film has been done very thoughtfully. We all know the actors and probably have a fond or favourable attitude towards them, yet these are essentially villains that would do some serious harm to anyone in their way, each other and would not spare much mercy. Old does not mean nice or kind. It just means old.

Solomons Independent financial advisers london

Lack of Purpose

The sadness about this story is that there is a palpable sense that these men knew little else and believed that it was their purpose, to be thieves gave them meaning and significance. It certainly gave them a tribe. There is a sequence when they are all recalling how they got into crime – invariably it was stealing food, which of course is indicative of their outlook and circumstances. Perhaps had this not been so, their lives may have been rather different.

Keep up with Technology

The film follows the frankly unbelievable ease with which the robbery was performed. Yet despite being a movie, this is the reality. Security systems at Hatton Gardens were woefully out of date much like the criminals who really failed to appreciate the power of CCTV, mobile phones and a Police Force that knows its stuff. Their open dialogue in public settings may be simply an overconfidence or a lapse of concentration, but surely desperately foolish.

Honour among Thieves

The bickering, infighting and back-stabbing implied that honour amongst thieves is probably a very exaggerated claim. They all steal from each other and it is only when caught that they come together again to present some basic form of a united front. Who you select to work with is perhaps a key lesson, as indeed is having a well thought plan, that allows for interruption and frustration.

Given that the men pleaded guilty, but most of the money has never been recovered, the accuracy of the character portrayals is naturally questionable, perhaps for dramatic reasons, perhaps because the truth, when it comes to criminals, is as slippery as “Billy the Fish” the hapless fence, Billy Lincoln played by Michael Gambon. It would seem that only Brian Reader (Michael Caine) understood the value of diamonds and knew a gem from junk. Terry Perkins (Jim Broadbent) supposedly a great wing-man to Reader was little more than a bully (if the portrayal is fair) and Carl Wood (Paul Whitehouse) would seem to be an unwilling participant at worst. Danny Jones (Ray Winstone) was the sharpest operator, but seemed innumerate and failed to count the money and Kenny Collins (Tom Courtenay) seemed to spin a story to suit the listener.

Fair Cop

The Police did a pretty impressive job, arresting Reader within 5 weeks of the crime. Before a year had passed the team was convicted and imprisoned. Crime does not pay… well perhaps it does, hardly any of the claimed £200m has been recovered, but as Reader warned, many of the deposits were held by other criminals. The truth may never be known. As for your investments and savings, who you trust and where you place your money is vital to understand. There are still many cases of financial fraud and theft. Would that it were not so.

Here is the trailer…

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Email me to get in touch
KING OF THIEVES2018-09-24T17:17:38+01:00

Ocean’s Eight

Ocean’s Eight

It is an odd thing that we have an affection for certain types of criminals. Those brought to life within a film invariably are the anti-hero. “The Italian Job” or the “Lavender Hill Mob” both hold an almost iconic cultural reference point. Ocean’s Eight is essentially a criminal gang of women, who steal. I’m not sure what the appeal really is, but it is undeniable. Perhaps there is something buried in childhood stories about Robin Hood, which leaves us marvelling the execution of a fantastic plan to outwit and outmanoeuvre authority.

The opening sequences of Oceans Eight may provide some insight. It is perhaps the force of brazen confidence that enable Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) to take advantage of the unsuspecting. Frankly, this sequence ought to be shown to every retail employee as an example of what to observe and I have to admit to being a little concerned that it gives thieves more ideas.

The Double Bluff

Perhaps there is the sense in these films that somehow a balance is being restored in a rather Robin Hood-esque way. I’m sure that there are many examples where this might be the case, but the darker reality is that perhaps, we are all a little enamoured by the criminal mind and but for the consequences, fancy ourselves as a mastermind of bluff and double bluff that has a payoff. Perhaps it intrigues, because we don’t live our lives that way and for good reason.

Where is the promised Cold Calling Ban?

The financial world is full of scams, often by clever people, sometimes just by the downright brazen. As a victim the consequences are very real, having identity stolen or pretty much all your life savings. These are the reasons why we have laws and regulation. Yet it occurs on a massive scale every day. We all need to be vigilant and I am angered by yet further delays to the introduction of the Cold Calling Ban by the Government. I appreciate that Brexit is currently taking resources, but meanwhile criminals are stealing from pension funds and so on. Whilst often we are told “it’s not personal” having your home, bank account or pension fund broken into by a thief feels very personal indeed.

We are complex beings, both victim and perpetrator, but mainly neither. The traditional financial services industry calls this fear and greed, aligning its material accordingly. The job of a fiduciary, such as a financial planner, is to help spot these incidents and to avoid them. There are often not obvious indications and often the best place to hide a lie is in plain sight, between two truths.

As for the new film, I really enjoyed it. I think it is because of the clever planning and skill on display, but actually it probably helps satisfy my darker side. Here is the trailer.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Email me to get in touch
Ocean’s Eight2018-07-04T14:23:30+01:00
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