By Aisling Finn on Monday 24 August 2020
In the past five months, a total of 165 scams have been reported to the FCA, more than 150 of which are related to the coronavirus.
The Financial Conduct Authority has investigated more than 150 coronavirus-related scams since the start of the crisis.
A Freedom of Information Request submitted by think tank Parliament Street highlighted the full extent of scammers trying to profit off the pandemic.
The total amount of scams reported since the start of lockdown is 165, which included email, cold calling, text messages, letters and social media.
Max Worrall, general markets sales manager of Encompass Corporation, said: “There have been numerous reports of company owners and directors receiving highly realistic scam emails, requesting usernames, passwords, and bank details from workers.”
“It is therefore vital that companies have in place the necessary anti-financial crime systems, as well as the ability to identify and confirm that the customer is who they say they are.”
For one of the scams, fraudsters impersonated employees from HM Revenue and Customers (HMRC) to target coronavirus-stricken SMEs looking for financial support from the government.
In other attempts, scammers tried to steal the login information of HSBC business account customers and also went after the passport details of financial services workers.
The think tank has warned that the rise in “sophisticated Covid-19-related scams could leave financial service firms open to the risk of financial crime.”
Parliament Street said that it’s not just the coronavirus pandemic that’s pushing more financial crime to the surface, but also upcoming stringent Anti-Money Laundering legislation.