Stay safe online
As an investment business, we are constantly finding fraudulent schemes on social media and email from people pretending to represent Standard Life Aberdeen (or other businesses in our group). We have robust processes and measures in place to manage activities like this and do everything we can to protect our customers, shareholders and clients.
If you get a social or email message and you're unsure if it is from us, you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll look into it for you.
Identity fraud and security
Identity theft and online fraud is big business for criminals.
Protect yourself against identity fraud
When you're online you leave a trail of little clues about yourself, like your name, your date of birth and where you live. Think about the details you give when you open a bank account, apply for a loan, a credit card, or a job. If you use social media like Twitter and Facebook, then your profile and comments can reveal things like your children's birthdays, pet's names - bits of information that on the surface seem perfectly ok.
For criminals, though, this can represent money in the bank. By gathering up all the pieces of information about you, they can apply for credit cards and loans in your name. And in some cases, they use the identity they've stolen for more serious crimes.
Having your identity stolen is frightening, upsetting and hugely disruptive to your life. The UK Government's Home Office estimates it takes 300 hours to restore your financial and credit records after identity theft. If it were a full-time job, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, it would take over a month to fix. Keeping your identity protected online is easy and straightforward if you know what to look out for.
The best things you can do to stay safe online are to be proactive and vigilant when you're online in public places.
But there are risks and even serious dangers in sharing your personal information on social networks.
Protect your computer
Keep your computer secure by changing your passwords and PINs (and keeping them a secret), and installing the latest updates for your system, applications and internet security software.
While email is useful, it can also have risks. These include receiving emails that result in you being defrauded or your identity stolen, emails you don't want, emails not arriving or emails being intercepted.
Social media security
There are now thousands of social networking sites on the internet. The best known include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They are a great way to stay in touch with friends and relatives and can connect people right across the world. But there are risks and even serious dangers in sharing your personal information on social networks.
Online shopping is very convenient and provides you with a vast choice of products, services and retailers. But it also has dangers.
Risks of online shopping
Most legitimate online businesses' payment and account detail systems are very secure. But some fraudsters use the same scams as they do in online banking, faking business websites to get your personal and financial details from you. Sometimes, fake names are used that sound close to a legitimate business name too.
How to shop online safely
- Look for things like a genuine postal address, phone number or post/ZIP code. VAT, tax or Registered Charity details can be verified online too.
- Try to obtain recommendations from people you know and trust, or at least independent online reviews of the online retailer.
- Before doing any financial transactions online, check for the locked padlock in the browser window and that the web address starts with "https://", which indicates it's secure - if these are not there, do not enter any details.
- Check the returns and delivery policies for any clauses that might make it difficult to return goods. You now have stronger rights under the European Union Consumer Directive 2014.
- If you are buying goods from abroad, remember that some countries don't have as strict selling laws as in the UK, EU and USA
- If possible, use a credit rather than a debit card. Credit cards have better protection if something goes wrong and the credit card issuer may be able to chase the problem on your behalf.
Smartphones and tablets have freed us to go online anywhere there is a 3G or 4G signal, Wi-Fi router or public hotspot. For many people, these mobile devices are rapidly taking over from computers for email, social networking, gaming, shopping and banking. This makes them a prime target for criminals, so it's essential to take mobile security precautions.
How to protect yourself
- Always protect your mobile device with a PIN that only you know. Biometrics, such as fingerprint or retina scan are good methods for securing mobile devices.
- Keep you device updated – switch on automated updates.
- Download apps and games only from official app stores and websites.
- Use internet security software designed for mobile devices, and ensure it is always updated.
- Never open, reply to emails, texts or instant messages if you don't know who they are from, and never open links or attachments unless you are absolutely certain who they are from.
- Switch off sharing technology like Bluetooth, unless you need it.
- Protect your mobile device when out and about. Keep it in a safe place.
- Some mobile device manufacturers offer free 'find my device' services if your device is stolen or lost.
- Always be aware of anyone looking over your shoulder ('shoulder surfers') when using your mobile device.
- Ensure your Wi-Fi at home or office is secured, and that any public Wi-Fi hotspots you may be using are secure.
Common online scams
Fraudsters are ingenious and new scams - or variations on existing scams - happen every day. In many cases they act as hi-tech con men, preying on your emotions or needs and gaining your trust.
Things to remember
- Be absolutely certain that the person you are dealing with is genuine. If it appears rude to question them, this is better than becoming a victim of online fraud.
- Ask yourself if the situation you are in seems genuine.
- Never assume that you can always spot a scam - fraudsters are very creative, persistent people.
- If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Common types of online fraud
With all the attention that we’re placing on coronavirus, this unfortunately provides the perfect opportunity for criminals and scammers to take advantage and to use emails, phone calls, fake websites and product advertising to phish for personal information or deliver malicious attachments. Here are some real-world examples:
- Email scammers impersonating health agencies (such as the World Health Organisation) to trick people into giving up personal information or to open malicious attachments.
- Emails offering monetary compensation or financial help to those who suffered from the COVID-19 outbreak
- Fake meeting invitations, in particular for cloud collaboration tools
- Emails offering links to COVID-19 cures
- Fraudulent requests to donate to charities
- Websites posing to be remote access login portals
- Websites with COVID-19 propagation maps which contain malware or links to malicious websites
Malicious mobile applications
- Applications which claim to be COVID information trackers but are designed to lock victims screens until a ransom is paid
- Fake COVID-19 Finder apps that steal payment data from users
Contacted by Standard Life Aberdeen?
We will only ever send you emails with a link to a Standard Life Aberdeen group company login page if you have registered or opted in to receive emails from us. If you receive an email claiming to be from Standard Life Aberdeen group company and you are in any doubt, please forward it to email@example.com and we will investigate it for you.
If you think you have been defrauded, or that someone is trying to defraud you, contact the police. There are other actions you can take, depending on what country you live in.
If you live in the UK
The services in this list can help if you have, or think you have, been a victim of fraud:
- www.cifas.org.uk - If you have been the victim of fraud, then contact CIFAS to register and protect your identity from further attack.
- Use Equifax / Experian / Call Credit to check your credit history
- Register with a Fraud Prevention Agency that also offers a Protective Registration Service. Call 0870 010 2091.
- www.royalmail.com - If you think your post is being stolen, contact the Royal Mail on their Customer Enquiry number, 08457 740 740.
If you live outside the UK
Please check what services are available in your area, either from your government or consumer advice bodies. You can also search online for topics like "fraud prevention" or "report fraud".
Report suspicious emails to Standard Life Aberdeen
If you have received any emails supposedly from Standard Life Aberdeen group companies but are suspicious, please forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org.