UK Finance Highlights 10 Coronavirus Scams To Be Aware Of

UK Finance, the industry body which represents UK banks and investment companies, has warned that fraudsters are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to prey on consumers’ financial fears and has highlighted ten prevalent scams to be aware of.

A number of the scams highlighted by UK Finance manipulate their victims by urging them to invest and "take advantage of the financial downturn", whilst others impersonate well-known subscription services and trusted organisations.

Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, Katy Worobec, said, "During this pandemic we have seen criminals using sophisticated methods to callously exploit people's financial concerns to trick them into giving away their money or information.

The banking and finance industry is tackling fraud on every front, investing millions in advanced technology to protect customers and working closely with the government and law enforcement to stop the criminal gangs responsible and neutralise the threat.

We would always urge people to follow the advice of the ‘Take Five to Stop Fraud’ campaign to keep their money and personal information safe from fraudsters.”

Take Five to Stop Fraud

The Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, delivered by UK Finance and HM Government, encourages people to be suspicious of any unsolicited contact and "Stop, Challenge and Protect" when they receive any messages or offers out of the blue. 

 

UK Finance - 10 coronavirus pandemic scams to be aware of

                 Covid-19 financial support scams

    1. Criminals have sent fake government emails designed to look like they are from government departments offering grants of up to £7,500. The emails contain links which steal personal and financial information from victims.

    2. Fraudsters have also been sending scam emails which offer access to ‘Covid-19 relief funds’ encouraging victims to fill in a form with their personal information.

    3. Criminals have been targeting people with official-looking emails offering a ‘council tax reduction’. These emails, which use government branding, contain links which lead to a fake government website which is used to access personal and financial information.
    4. Fraudsters are also preying on benefit recipients, offering to help apply for Universal Credit, while taking some of the payment as an advance for their “services”.

      Health scams

    5. One of the most shocking scams that has appeared during the pandemic has involved using the NHS Test and Trace service. Criminals are preying on an anxious public by sending phishing emails and links claiming that the recipient has been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19. These lead to fake websites that are used to steal personal and financial information or infect devices with malware.

    6. Victims are also being targeted by fake adverts for Covid-related products such as hand sanitizer and face masks which do not exist.

      Lockdown scams

    7. Criminals are sending fake emails and texts claiming to be from TV Licensing, telling people they are eligible for six months of free TV license because of the coronavirus pandemic. Victims are told there has been a problem with their direct debit and are asked to click on a link that takes them to a fake website used to steal personal and financial information.

    8. Amid a rise in the use of online TV subscription services during the lockdown, customers have been targeted by criminals sending convincing emails asking them to update their payment details by clicking on a link which is then used to steal credit card information.

    9. Fraudsters are also exploiting those using online dating websites by creating fake profiles on social media sites used to manipulate victims into handing over their money. Often criminals will use the identities of real people to strike up relationships with their targets.

    10. Criminals are using social media websites to advertise fake investment opportunities, encouraging victims to “take advantage of the financial downturn”. Bitcoin platforms are using emails and adverts on social media platforms to encourage unsuspecting victims to put money into fake investment companies using fake websites.


Stop
: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

In order to spot a Covid-19 scam, people should be on high alert if:

  • The website address is inconsistent with that of the legitimate organisation
  • The phone call, text or emails asks for financial information such as PIN, passwords
  • You receive a call or email out of the blue with an urgent request for your personal or financial information, or to make an immediate payment
  • You’re offered a heavily discounted or considerably cheaper product compared to the original price
  • There are spelling and grammar mistakes, or inconsistencies in the story you’re given


For more information about the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and measures to combat fraud click here.

 

Protecting clients’ funds held on the Flagstone platform from fraud

Flagstone follows strict operational processes to ensure that the highest security standards are maintained. Importantly, as part of these protocols to protect clients’ funds from the risk of fraud, we only ever authorise payments from a client’s Flagstone Hub Account to their Nominated Return Account.

For more information about how Flagstone keeps clients' money safe, please refer to the 'Protecting Your Money' section of our website FAQs and if you have any questions about our proposition, platform and processes please contact us at BusinessDevelopment@FlagstoneIM.com or on 0203 745 8139.


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