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Expat Investor : December 2007
expatinvestor.com 14 EXPAT INVESTOR December 2007 Fast Facts 10009 Fast Facts 10420 Expatriate mortgages from the expat experts 2.3% DISCOUNT FOR 3 YEARS Loans require one British passport holder and are for UK property security only. Call, write, fax or visit our website now for details. www.international-mortgage-plans.com Blandings, Cobbetts Hill, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0UA conditional insurance choice. Tel. +44 1932 830660 Fax +44 1932 829603 email: email@example.com YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE ID PROTECTION Every year, close on 400,000 people leave the UK to set up a home abroad and, in every case, they may be leaving behind something more important than the bad weather and traffic jams.They will be leaving behind their ability to walk into a local bank branch and talk to staff, which can be a key part of their personal financial security. If you are one of those lucky enough to be retiring abroad or moving away to work, the benefits of planning finances offshore will soon come sharply into focus. Put simply, there is one big reason for putting your money offshore when you are no longer a UK taxpayer and that is -- money! Offshore, you will receive gross interest on savings, so with less tax deducted, your nest egg can grow faster. But once you leave the UK, communicating with your bank may become harder and with few phone banks geared up to service the specialist requirements of expatriates, your choice of bank overseas will be important. For this reason, it is as important offshore as it is onshore to place your money with a reputable bank or financial institution. A familiar UK bank should have the financial and managerial resources available to offer the customers of its subsidiaries a level of extra service and protection -- for example, deposits held with Abbey International are fully and unconditionally guaranteed by Abbey National Plc. Local banks in your destination country may not understand the needs of expatriates, and local financial advice may be inappropriate to your situation. Remember, local financial advice may not be regulated and so you may not be properly protected by regulation or legal requirements. What's more, if you are likely to move to a country other than the UK after your first foreign posting, you won't have to move all your accounts if you have chosen an appropriate, flexible and reliable offshore bank account in the first place. How can I protect my ID? Nowadays, staying safe while overseas increasingly means paying attention to identity theft. For a fraudster to steal your identity, they need first of all to learn a credible amount of information about you. Bank statements which are posted to shared addresses are a particular source of risk, as these give potential criminals much information about you. You can protect yourself in a variety of simple, low-cost ways while you are abroad, though. When you first leave the UK, consider using a Royal Mail Re-direct to make sure all post is forwarded to your new address abroad, and be certain any post sent to your UK address is dealt with securely using, for example, the Royal Mail 'Keepsafe' service. Many people leave bank statements lying around or simply throw them away unopened, particularly if it is an account with just a few pounds in it. A bank statement can be a treasure trove of information for a fraudster, giving your name, address and details of recent transactions. If you are careless enough to throw away other important documents, such as utility bills, the picture a criminal can build up gets even more convincing. Remember, therefore, to always destroy these documents if you do not want to keep them. So this might be a good time to start looking for a good internet banking service. For your day-to-day banking, internet banking services now offers customers a far higher level of security, as it can remove the need to send statements and cheques via the post. It can make sense, therefore, to change banks just to access a good internet banking service to avoid these risks. Good internet banks will allow you to pay bills, transfer funds, carry out simple foreign currency transactions, save in multi-currency accounts and, of course, check your statements and recent transaction history. To protect your identity when using internet banking, make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. When making payments, only use secure websites by ensuring that the security symbol is showing in the bottom of your browser screen. Another good tip is to access internet banking and shopping sites by typing the address directly into your web browser. Organisations such as Banksafeonline in the UK also advise e-banking users never to log on to websites from a link in an email and never to enter personal details. Any email asking you to go on to a bank website and enter personal security data will be fraudulent. Protecting yourself and your money offshore Jane Matthews, Head of Marketing and Business Deveopment with Abbey International, guides expats through the necessary steps to keeping their money and their ID safe from fraudsters.
January February 2008