The market uncertainty resulting from coronavirus has seen a rise of fraudsters. Parts of the Quilter group of companies have recently been impersonated by fraudsters. These criminals are often articulate and knowledgeable, using sophisticated techniques to impersonate companies and research their targets, making their scams look like genuine investments. Typically, experienced investors and those over 65 with savings in excess of £10,000 are targets for investment fraud, but it can happen to anyone.
Your security is our priority, so we have reacted quickly to help you and the financial advisers we work with to spot these fraudsters. Follow this simple checklist to protect your finances:
Take a moment to pause and reflect before parting with your money
Question any suspicious motives using our tips in the table below
Stay vigilant and report all suspicions to help keep yourself and others safe
Here are some tips to help you stay safe from scams:
|What are the warning signs?
||How do I protect myself?
|Unexpected contact, or repeated calls
||If you get cold-called, the safest thing to do is to hang up. If you get unexpectedly contacted by email, it’s always best to simply ignore it.
|Requesting your PIN or password
||A genuine bank or organisation will never ask for these types of personal details. Never give them if prompted.
|Requesting personal details or financial information
Never give them if it’s not for a service you want.
|Tempting returns that sound too good to be true
||If an investment sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Trust your instinct and do not proceed.
|Offering reassurance about the risks involved
||If you are told not to worry about the risks and that the investment is safe, don’t simply accept that it’s true.
||If you are told the offer is only available to you, or you are asked not to tell anyone else about the opportunity, this is a sign it’s not genuine. Do not engage in any further communication.
|Unnecessary time pressure, for example you’re told it’s a time-limited offer, or you are offered a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date.
||Don’t be pressured into acting quickly – a genuine bank or 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 use the contact details on the FCA Register, not the details the firm gives you.
You should also check the firm’s details with directory enquiries or Companies House to make sure they’re the same.
If you are an International investor, you can check the FSA Isle of Man register.
Fraudsters sometimes claim to be from legitimate firms authorised by the FCA. Find out on the FCA website how to protect yourself and what to do if you are scammed.
|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.
Below is a list of Quilter’s legitimate email addresses. If you have been contacted by someone you do not recognise using any variation of these address which is not on the list; or if you have any other security concerns, please forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org
|Unconfirmed changes on your account
||If you have any doubts at all about what you are being asked to do, check with your provider. Always use contact details you can trust, for example the phone number on your bank statement or policy documentation.
Remember: always get independent financial advice before investing.
Many firms, including Quilter, are helping customers by allowing more flexibility at the moment – like carrying out some transactions online and sending documentation by email. This is because we recognise that it may not be possible for you to meet your financial adviser face to face.
Whilst we are happy to help by offering you this flexibility, we do emphasise that unencrypted email is not secure and you should only use it if you understand the risks and are unable to operate in the usual ways.
If you’d like to read more, head to the FCA’s support on potential coronavirus (Covid-19) scams covering how they could affect you, and how to protect yourself.
You may also want to read the FCA’s pension scams leaflet, which is part of the FCA’s wider ScamSmart campaign: www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart
If you are an investor based outside of the UK, you may find the following links useful. Here’s some information from the Financial Services Authority on the Isle of Man: https://www.iomfsa.im/covid-19/
And Interpol have given the following update: https://www.interpol.int/en/News-and-Events/News/2020/INTERPOL-warns-of-financial-fraud-linked-to-COVID-19
Find out more
Click on the links below to read more advice which could help prevent identity crime, protect against the possibility of fraud, and handy tips for improving your internet security.