3 powerful ways Better Call Saul can help you spot financial scams

By HarperLees

If you are a fan of Netflix’s hugely popular crime drama Better Call Saul, you’ll know it is in its sixth and final season. As a prequel to the Emmy award-winning Breaking Bad, the show follows the transition of scam artist Jimmy McGill into highly successful criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman.

While it’s a hugely entertaining show, it also provides a glimpse into how fraudsters work. This is particularly interesting when you consider that Your Money reveals that more than 75% of UK adults have been targeted by scammers in 2022.

Furthermore, money.co.uk reveals that criminals stole £2.4 billion using fraud and cybercrime in 2021, of which £394.1 million involved investment scams.

Of course, as clients of HarperLees you have peace of mind that you are dealing with an authorised and highly respected company, so all your investments are bona fide.

That said, you may also have other investments or know someone who is a DIY investor. If so, discover three powerful lessons Jimmy McGill and other characters from Better Call Saul can teach you about protecting your wealth from criminals.

1. Scammers are convincing

At the end of season one, we witness “Slippin’ Jimmy” McGill and fellow scam artist Marco Pasternak swindle people out of money using their “coin con”. In it, Jimmy offers Marco – who pretends to be a stranger – the opportunity to buy a rare coin for less than it’s worth because he needs cash.

This is done in front of the intended victim, who then steps in and buys the fake coin when Marco declines the offer. The scene highlights just how convincing scammers can be, something that should be remembered with the skyrocketing number of impersonation scams.

Always take care if you’re contacted by someone claiming to be from the government, your bank, or a delivery company. If you are contacted, look for the following red flags:

  • Vague contact information
  • Demands of payment for something you are not aware of
  • Being asked to provide personal information
  • Pushy or aggressive behaviour
  • A sense of urgency being created.

2. Fraudsters make false offers you can’t refuse

In series four, Jimmy takes a forced break from the world of law and instead sells mobile phones. While this initially doesn’t result in much of an income for Jimmy, he soon finds a way to increase sales exponentially.

He claims his phones provide superior security against prying ears, knowing that it’s a big concern for the criminals he targets his phones at. There is no truth in the claim, and Jimmy just wants to sell as many burner phones as he can.

In the same way, scammers claim to have products that offer attractive benefits, but these are usually a fabrication. One time you should always remember this is when using search engines.

According to Which?, they have become an “easy hunting ground” for scammers using paid-for adverts to target your money. Criminals also create bogus comparison sites, which like the adverts, offer higher returns than bona fide companies.

In some cases, the rates are only slightly higher to make them more believable.

That’s why you should always be extremely careful when using comparison sites or responding to an advert you’ve spotted on the internet. One way to confirm whether it’s genuine is to contact us, as we’ll be happy to confirm its authenticity.

3. Criminals set up authentic looking companies

Throughout Better Call Saul, a respectable-looking fast-food restaurant called Los Pollos Hermanos is used as a front for drug manufacturing and distribution. In the show, the business has 14 restaurants across America and is run by a seemingly mild-mannered entrepreneur called Gustavo “Gus” Fring.

In reality, Gus is a drug kingpin who uses Los Pollos Hermanos’s trucks to move drugs and vast amounts of dirty cash across the US.

While entertaining in fiction, it highlights a genuine risk that you may not be aware of: criminals set up respectable looking investment companies that are geared to stealing your money. The following are ways criminals try to make their companies look more genuine:

  • By providing a company number that matches a legitimate firm on the FCA register
  • Offering realistic looking fact sheets and prospectuses
  • Using the same address as a bona fide company in emails and correspondence
  • Following the same compliance procedures as reputable companies, including asking for copies of ID and personal documents.

If you’re considering other investments alongside those you have with HarperLees, always use the Financial Conduct Authority’s warning list to ensure the investment company is genuine.

If it’s not registered, cross-reference with the FCA register to check whether the firm is bona fide, and whether it can offer the products it’s advertising.

In order to take your money, scammers usually offer products that do not exist or are extremely high risk and charge excessive fees. Examples of this are “pension liberation” or “pension loan” schemes, which scammers will claim provide early access to your retirement fund.

Typically, this will not be true, as pension pots cannot be accessed before the age of 55 (rising to 57 in 2028) except for rare situations, such as poor health.

Get in touch

As you can see, care should always be taken if you have other investments other than those you have with HarperLees.

If you would like to discuss any investments you are considering, a potential scam or how we could help a friend or family member, please get in touch by emailing us at info@harperlees.co.uk or call 01277 350560.

Please note

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article.

The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.