Looking after your Security
At Alliance Trust we take your security very seriously and are committed to protecting you when you use our services. There is no doubt that financial fraud is a growing concern within the UK. Financial fraud can take a variety of forms including "phishing", identity theft and advance fee fraud. In this section, you can find out how to keep yourself safe when dealing directly with us through our postal, telephone or online services and what to do if you have any suspicions.
General security guidance
Fraud is not exclusive to the internet. Other types of fraud are still more common than online fraud. Consider the following tips to help keep you safe both on and off the internet.
Keep your personal information safe and secure
It is essential that you safeguard your personal information because you could always be the next victim of a fraudster. Always shred any papers with your personal information on them before throwing them away. Look after your personal information. Keep confidential information in secure places.
Keep us informed of any change in your personal details
Please keep us advised as soon as possible if you change your personal details such as your address, name or other contact details. With confidential mail going to a previous or old address, changing address can be a potential area for identify fraud. You can help keep safe by;
- Notifying all companies who hold your details of all changes
- Ensuring you redirect mail to your new address
Where approached by a third party to deposit funds in your account
There are incidences where a person may be asked by an unknown third party to use your account for the receipt of funds on behalf of third parties, normally with the offer of a commission payment. These funds are often the proceeds of fraud and such requests should be refused whatever the circumstances.
Additional information is also available on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website, www.fca.org.uk/consumers or the FCA's Scam SMart website, http://scamsmart.fca.org.uk/.
Managing your plans securely online
When trading or managing your plans and accounts online, there are a number of simple and easy ways to help keep you safe by protecting your computer, keeping your identity secure and staying safe when online.
Protecting Your Computer
To protect your computer you should use anti-virus software, maintain a firewall, and ensure that your computer software (your operating system) is up-to-date:
Install and maintain antivirus software
Anti-virus software protects your computer in two ways. First, it detects and removes any computer viruses that have been installed on your computer without your permission. Second, it prevents viruses from infecting your computer and compromising your online security.
If you do have antivirus software, we advise that you should update your virus definitions automatically when available to keep the latest threats at bay. We recommend you choose a product that includes anti-spyware software.
Maintain a firewall
The firewall is a security application that sits between your computer and the internet shielding your PC from unauthorised access. Any PC that you use to access the internet should use a firewall. We recommend that your Firewall is set to monitor both incoming and outgoing internet traffic - this ensures that you have control over information that enters and leaves your PC.
Windows XP and Mac OS X have firewalls built into them. Consult your help menus for instructions on checking or setting up your firewall. In addition, you can download free firewall applications, or obtain a firewall in a commercially available product.
Ensure that your computer software is up-to-date
You should regularly check for updates to your operating system and your most commonly used applications. If you have a Windows computer, you should visit the Windows Update site once or twice each month. If you have an Apple computer running OS X, you should run the Software Update tool once or twice each month. For patches/updates for any of your software applications, visit the software publisher's website.
Watch out for fraudulent (or 'phishing') emails
Phishing is a fraud technique commonly used to attempt to trick people into revealing their security number and password to fraudsters.
A phishing scam typically works by the fraudster sending out a fake email that has been designed to look like it comes from a reputable source. This fake email asks for security details or directs customers to a counterfeit banking or commerce site. At the counterfeit site, the fraudster asks the customer to enter their complete security details - password, security questions, user name etc. These stolen security details are then used to commit fraud.
If you receive an email requesting your security details do not reply and do not follow the instructions even if the email suggests that you need to take immediate action to stop your account being frozen or it indicates that you may incur a fine if you don't. These are just tricks that the fraudster is using to manipulate you in to giving away your vital details.
If you suspect phishing, call us at 01382 321000 or forward the suspect email to [email protected]
Become a smarter web user
The more you know about fraud, the less likely you are to become a fraud victim. Credit card fraud, telephone scams, and internet fraud all use unique mechanisms in attempting to steal your information. The three most commonly used internet scams are phishing, trojans, and spyware. More details on these and recent security threats are covered in the section Latest security alerts.
Latest security alerts
We have provided a list of security alerts and current varieties of fraud which can impact financial service customers as well as contact details to access further information regarding fraud.
"Boiler Room" Scam Calls
We are aware that some shareholders who hold shares in their own name, rather than through a nominee account, have received telephone calls claiming to be from an organisation that is looking to acquire shares in Alliance Trust PLC. The caller normally offers to pay multiples of the current share price. If the shareholder expresses an interest, they will be asked to pay money to the caller to cover “administration costs” to confirm their interest, or to send a copy of the share certificate. We are unsure of the provenance of these calls, and have alerted the Financial Conduct Authority to the issue. We do not recommend that you comply with this type of request and we advise that prior to buying or selling shares you should contact your stockbroker or financial adviser. Please contact us if you are in any doubt about the authenticity of any communication concerning Alliance Trust PLC or its subsidiaries. Click here to find out more about unauthorised overseas firms operating in the UK.
Fraudulent Email Warning
It has come to our notice that as with other organisations, our name is being used illegally in connection with unsolicited email communications offering false promises of lottery prizes or indicating that we are holding funds on behalf of the winner. We would like to make it clear that any such communications are designed to defraud the recipient and should not be answered.
Fraudulent Phone Calls
It has also come to our attention that a small number of our shareholders/customers have been receiving telephone calls purporting to be on behalf of Alliance Trust. In the course of such calls individuals are being asked to divulge personal information such as their date of birth. We would warn all of our shareholders that such calls are not being made on behalf of Alliance Trust and we would not ask for such information to be provided.
Other security alerts
Scams and Swindles
A scam is a scheme designed to con you out of your cash. Scams come in many forms and are getting more sophisticated all the time. So, even if you think you would never be fooled, make sure you remain sceptical about offers that seem too good to be true – remember they usually are.
Scammers aim to con us all. Deceptive premium rate competition scams, bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, get–rich–quick schemes and fake health cures are some of the favoured means of separating the unwary from their money. And the number of scams just keeps on growing.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is campaigning to stamp out scams. Every day, people throughout the UK are falling victim to scams of one kind or another. It could be an unexpected prize draw or lottery win, or a chance to invest in an exciting new money-making or investment programme. But remember - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For tips on how to stay safe online see the UK banking industry's Bank Safe Online website – see www.banksafeonline.org.uk/helpful_sites.html
Someone impersonates you without your knowledge, often by stealing discarded or lost documents. Please visit www.identity-theft.org.uk for further details.
Receiving unexpected calls
Always be cautious when receiving an unexpected call requesting personal information. The other party instigated the call and should already know who you are. Often you can be caught unaware and it usually happens at the wrong time when you are busy with other matters.
If asked for complete security details do not reply, try not to get flustered or intimidated and do not follow the instructions even if it is suggested that your account may be frozen or you may incur a fine if you don't. If in doubt, take the caller's name and call back using your normal telephone banking number.
Trojan horse programs
A Trojan horse program is a computer virus that can be attached to emails, downloaded from websites or hidden inside other downloadable files such as MP3 files. Typically, fraudsters will send out emails at random to try to get you to click on a link from the email and visit a fake website where the Trojan is installed. The intention of the fraudster is to use the Trojan to find out your security details. They can do this by capturing keystrokes or taking screen shots. If a Trojan is downloaded onto your computer, it could capture your password and other log in details and send them to the fraudster, wherever they might be in the world.
Anti-virus software can identify Trojans and remove them from your computer.
Advanced fee/419 scams
The advanced fee or 419 scam attempts to obtain money or bank details from individuals usually by using a story about blocked funds, often millions of dollars that can be released for a small advanced fee or by entering bank details to which the money can be sent. The emails can appear to come from government departments, large companies or lotteries. Remember that, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Money mule scams
These are attempts to lure unsuspecting people into helping to launder money by using your account to transfer money overseas, for a commission. You should not respond to these emails or provide any personal details.