We have been made aware that fraudsters are using the current lack of personal contact to impersonate clients and steal money from investments and pensions.
In 2014, there was a spate of scams involving fraudsters hacking personal email accounts and impersonating clients to gather information which was then used to encash investments. It looks like they are back!
The fraudsters would hack an individual's personal email account to identify investments before contacting the IFA by email to request encashment. One of the key points to note is they would request the money to be paid into a new bank account recently set up. The fraudsters would provide evidence of the account's existence if requested by email.
This would all be done by email and if telephone contact was requested there would be some reason given to continue using email instead.
If the client request is in fact genuine, we believe clients would appreciate the call if you explain the reason for the telephone contact - you are protecting their savings!
Note that this is just one of the methods used by fraudsters, so be VIGILANT.
We are aware of significant amounts of money having been scammed using this and similar techniques.
For information and awareness.
Look after your client's assets. It is better to have a suspicion that turns out to be wrong than to unwittingly facilitate your client being scammed.
If it doesn’t feel right then the chance is that it isn’t.
Action Required By You
- Be vigilant with fund encashments, especially if there is a change of bank account;
- Speak to clients by phone if you feel there are suspicious circumstances;
- If you, or your clients, have been scammed, report it - there is good information here about how best to report different types of scam;
- Inform your PII for guidance;
- Contact ATEB if you need further clarification or assistance.