Simoney Kyriakou is an award winning finance journalist who has been writing on personal finance since the late 1990s

Now Covid-19 has forced us to spend more time online, social media has enabled the rise of targeted insurance adverts, based on keywords we have used and our browsing history. 

A reminder to protect our lifestyle might seem like a good thing. After all, statistics show Britons are woefully unprepared when it comes to insuring our income and the people we love. 

A 2019 study by insurance giant Swiss Re suggested the UK has a protection gap of £2.4tn. This means most of us have zero income protection or life insurance in place should the worst happen. 

Moreover, the average UK household has just £1,500 in the bank, according to 2018 figures from insurer Legal & General. How long will that last if the breadwinner becomes seriously ill, or has an accident and cannot work for months?

A crucial question indeed, and with Covid-19 making us more aware of our vulnerability, many Britons have considered buying life insurance or income protection. 

This desire to protect our families is definitely a good thing, but the people behind those targeted adverts on social media are aware of this. 

These advertisers are called lead generators, and they lure people in with promises of unrealistically low premiums; they use photographs of passports or National Insurance cards to fake authority; and they use targeted, alarmist messages, such as ‘Women aged 35-45 in your area are at high risk of dying early – Protect your children from just £10 a month’. 

Avoid such adverts. These lead generators do not care about protecting you or your data. 

They will pass your details to different insurers, meaning you could be called by many companies, in direct contravention of the General Data Protection Regulation. 

They assume authority by using official government papers, such as an HM Revenue and Customs logo or an NI card. This is illegal. 

They also use scaremongering tactics; the Advertising Standards Agency takes a dim view of ‘alarmist’ adverts and have banned such operators. 

And they sell false promises of low monthly payments, when your unique circumstances might mean the best insurance policy for you actually costs a little more. 

Always report such adverts, both to the social media platform and to the Advertising Standards Agency. You could also forward them to technology platform Contact State, which is lobbying for certification for every generated lead to make your journey more secure. 

Do not be put off getting vital insurance, however. A regulated financial adviser will search the whole market for the best product for your specific needs, at the most appropriate premium for your financial circumstances.  Advisers can give you peace of mind, knowing your data and your family’s financial future is secure.


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