In a recent case ruled on by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), a fraudster committed a ‘double sting’ to impersonate both the client and the financial adviser for financial gain.
Fraudster sends an email (from the client’s hacked email account) to the financial adviser suggesting they are having financial problems whilst away in Australia and that they need to release £35,000 from their pension fund. This is arranged and the money is transferred from the pension scheme to the client’s bank account.
As the money hits the account, the fraudster sends an email (impersonating the financial adviser) to the client stating that there has been a banking/pensions error and £35,000 has been sent to the client account in error. The fraudster (acting as adviser) asks the client to return the funds to a bank account number/sort code etc. The client does so.
Clearly, the bank account was not the pension company’s bank account. The fraudster now has the money although some was recovered and the financial adviser was ordered by the FOS to pay compensation for the balance.
We will not accept written instructions only or verbal instructions only to cash in pensions or investments or take partial withdrawals. We will always ask for both written and verbal instructions (which are recorded) combined and if you are overseas, we will usually also ask for a video link conference call to see that it is you (also recorded) to again double check and make sure it is you requesting funds.