Billions of pounds are lost to fraud in the UK each year with scammers tending to target those who are most vulnerable. In this article, we take a look at some clever apps that utilise open banking in order to protect the finances of vulnerable people.
How to protect against scams and problem spending
Kalgera is an app designed to help prevent fraud on older and vulnerable people's finances. The app connects via open banking to the user's bank account and then notifies a family member or trusted person when a suspicious transaction occurs. Kalgera is currently being released in a beta version and there is a waiting list to sign up, you will be notified via email when it is time to set up your account.
- Designed to prevent fraud
- FCA regulated
- Web-based app to spot unusual activity
This app is a brilliant way to encourage conversations about money. The app connects to the vulnerable person's bank account using meaning they can create an alert when certain transactions are carried out (such as gambling). If it spots one of these transactions it will notify a nominated 'trusted friend' meaning they can get in touch to offer help and support. The user can turn the 'contact a friend' feature on and off but the app offers support before allowing the individual to do this.
To download the app a user will need to request an invite via the website and then follow a link in order to download the app.
- Help someone struggling with their money and mental health
- A great way to offer support
- Connect one bank account via open banking
Some banks are now offering the ability to block gambling transactions on an account with a 24/48 hour cooling off period. This allows the user to reflect on their actions and so could help to prevent impulsive spending.
Banks that currently offer gambling blocks:
- Starling Bank
- Lloyds Bank
If you are unsure if your bank offers a gambling block it is best to contact them directly.
Other financial support services for vulnerable people
Below we list some other free services that may provide some financial assistance to vulnerable people:
Consumers, or someone acting on their behalf e.g via power of attorney, can register with the VRS and choose to have credit agencies and companies take their vulnerability into consideration when they are assessing the suitability of a product or service. Users can choose to have their application automatically denied if they apply for credit. Or alternatively, they can have their name 'flagged' which means the company will contact them to discuss their application.
GAMSTOP is an online service that allows consumers to register and exclude themselves from online gambling, including apps. A name, address and email address is required and there is the option to be excluded for a period of 6 months, 1 year or 5 years. Each individual has to sign up on their own accord and the restrictions can be lifted at any time, however, GAMSTOP would need to be contacted and the necessary protocol would need to be followed and met.
Cold Turkey is a browser add on that is designed to increase productivity by blocking distracting websites. However, it could also be used to block problem spending websites such as gambling or online shopping sites.
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) allows you to opt-out of receiving unsolicited sales and marketing calls that could increase a vulnerable person's risk of being scammed. You can simply register the relevant telephone number on its website.
Free debt help and advice
There are many charities and websites that offer free debt and financial advice. Some of which we have listed below:
- Citizens Advice
- National Debtline
- The Money Advice Service
- The money charity
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