The Book Of Scams: How To Spot Fraudsters AndAvoid Becoming The Next Victim
Published byHarriman House (£10.68)
Almost all of us have been approached by a scammer at some point in our lives if you're an active investor, you probably fend off regular calls from such people.But as financial writer Rodney Hobson notes in The Book Of Scams, the opportunities for fraud have been magnified by recent changes to pension rules, which have given retirees far more control over their money. That makes Hobson's book on the tricks fraudsters use particularly timely.
The book opens by outlining some traditional scams, such as forged wills and the "French Connection" (or "Spanish Prisoner" you'll have seen variations on this in your inbox in the form of emails from close relatives of deposed dictators who have inexplicably chosen you to help them move theirill-gotten gains out of a Swiss bank account). The book movesonto investment scams, concluding with a look at online frauds.
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Hobson explains how each scam works, with examples andtips on what to look out for, and often an outline of how they'veevolved over time. Some are quite clever (if thoroughly low),such as the con men who defraud people and then steal asecond bite of the apple by impersonating the police. You mightthink that it couldn't happen to you, but given that the averagescam victim loses £20,000 (according to the Financial Conduct Authority) it makes sense to be aware of potential threats.
Covering 22 topics in just under 200 pages means some of thematerial is a little superficial, but there's lots of useful detail,such as the section on auction-related scams, and it's a useful reminder that if something looks too good to be true, it almostalways is. If you liked The Sting or Matchstick Men, you'll find ita fascinating read, ideal for a train journey or short flight.
The Book Of Scams: How To Spot Fraudsters AndAvoid Becoming The Next Victim, by Rodney Hobson.Harriman House (£10.68).
Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.
He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.
Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.
As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri
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