Today caution is necessary, now more than ever. The threats these days are greater and more sophisticated. And of course, the internet is the greatest source of financial risk as highly skilled criminal networks use very convincing methods and tactics to build their framework of trust.

We can take nothing for granted, we must have a framework to enable us to fight back.

Protecting against risk whilst accepting that risk is part of life is a challenge. Nobody knows everything about everything – so trusting the experts is necessary. But being a lot more aware and vigilant is going to be essential in a world where criminals are more sophisticated, have more access and where financial hardship is more prevalent.

The victims who lost over $7.5m to Hamish would have been able to protect themselves with five simple rules.

Let’s call these rules the way to establish Qualified Trust:
1. Don’t make emotional or rushed decisionspressure is used as a tactic.
2. Understand the principles of any investment – don’t be intimidated; if it’s too difficult to understand, don’t do it.
3. Check under the bonnet – understand some of the details
4. Check that your money has been received by the correct party
5. Check past history – both the type of investment or transaction and the individuals involved, should have a traceable past. If it feels too good to be true, it probably is.