Fraud fears rise as FCA investigates COVID-19 scams

The FCA has revealed it is investigating more than 150 scams related to coronavirus since the pandemic began.
Data, obtained under a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by the Parliament Street think tank’s cyber research team, showed that the total number of suspected scams reported to the FCA over the last five months has reached 165.

The types of scams that have been used to target financial services organisations and banks by financial criminals during the outbreak of COVID-19 include email, phone calls, text messages, letters, and social media. 

The Parliament Street think tank described one of the most common scams in which fraudsters have pretended to be from HMRC and targeted company owners seeking COVID-19 relief grants to help manage their finances throughout the crisis.

Other scams also include a targeted effort to steal login credentials of HSBC customers with business accounts, and seeking to obtain the passport details of financial services workers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rapid increase in the number of  financial crime scams entering circulation,” commented Encompass Corporation general markets sales manager, Max Worrall.
“There have been numerous reports of company owners and directors receiving highly realistic scam emails, requesting usernames, passwords, and bank details from workers. 
“These risks are a reminder of the threats posed to regulated firms seeking to enforce anti-money laundering (AML) measures and customer verification checks. These processes often involve reviewing personally identifiable information and documentation, something criminals are always seeking to get their hands on, by any means necessary.
“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.”

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