Quilter warns advisers to be alert to fraud attempts

Quilter warns advisers to be alert to fraud attempts

Quilter today urged customers and advisers to be extra cautious about the risk of financial scams amid the coronavirus crisis.

A combination of factors means that customers are increasingly likely to be targeted by scammers during this pandemic, the company said.

Quilter has launched a Stay safe webpage for customers and advisers concerned about the risk of fraud.

The page encourages everyone to follow the Take Five campaign's Stop, Challenge, and Protect to help tackle financial scams and offers practical advice for spotting and avoiding fraud.

The FCA's business plan, released today, commits to helping consumers avoid the scams that spring up as the pandemic develops. The regulator warns that consumers who are scammed lose an average of 22 years' pensions savings, almost three times their annual earnings.

Matt Burton, chief risk officer at Quilter, said: "This is a difficult time for all of us and of course everyone's number one focus is on the imminent threat to public health, and the need to stay safe and protect themselves and others."

"But we also need to be cautious about the need to stay safe financially. Regrettably a small number of unscrupulous individuals are seeking to exploit the current situation for financial fraud. Currently covid-19 themed phishing domains are being registered at a rate of 1,500 per day with around 250,000 spam emails being sent from them.

"Financial services companies are being more flexible to keep the economy going and allow customers to continue to complete transactions despite the current restrictions," Burton said.

"This includes carrying out more transactions online, sending documentation by email rather than post, and accepting digital authorisations rather than a wet signature. These steps are needed where social distancing measures mean people cannot meet with their adviser face to face, for example.

While such measures are necessary, they can increase the risk of fraud so it is crucial to be vigilant and know how to spot the signs of a scam."

Tips for staying safe from scams

Warning signs

How to protect yourself

Unexpected contact

If you get cold-called, the safest thing to do is to hang up and simply ignore it.

Requesting your PIN or password

A genuine organisation will never ask for these types of details. Never give them if prompted.

Requesting personal details or financial information

Never give them if it's not for a service you want.

Unnecessary time pressure

Don't be pressured into acting quickly - a genuine financial services firm won't mind giving you time to think.

Receiving a ‘clone' email that seems to be from a real firm

If unsure, always check the contact details on the FCA Register. You should also check the firm's details with directory enquiries or Companies House to make sure they're the same.

Unrecognisable email address

If you get an email, expand the pane at the top of the message and see exactly who it has come from - if it's a scam, the email address of the sender may be filled with random numbers or be misspelled.

Unconfirmed changes on your account

If you have any doubts about any changes to your account, check with your provider. Always use contact details you can trust, for example the phone number on your bank statement or policy documentation.


Author spotlight

Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.