Financial information, bargains and cash for older people

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Protecting your finances

Safe investment including secure online banking, credit cards, insurance, bank loans, avoiding scams and safe surfing

When choosing a financial provider you should make sure that they are regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). You can check that a firm or individual is regulated by the FSA by consulting their register, which can be found at www.fsa.gov.uk/fsaregister. If a firm or individual is regulated you will be able to access the relevant complaints procedures and compensation schemes if things go wrong.

You should check that they are also a member of a professional body such as the Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners (www.thesocietyofwillwriters.co.uk). Professional bodies ensure that their members are fully trained and qualified to give advice and that they have Professional Indemnity Insurance that will cover you if problems arise.

Never use any financial service or adviser that cold calls (at home, via telephone or email). If you are suspicious about a person or organization, consult the FSA website (see above) to access their list of unauthorised firms that are currently targeting UK investors. You can also obtain more information about fraudulent activity such as scams and swindles from the FSA website.

For more information about protecting your finances, and for general advice about managing your money, visit the website of the Money Advice Service: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. This is a free, independent service, set up by government and funded by a levy on the financial services industry.