The Investment Association (IA) reported yesterday that scammers are using the coronavirus pandemic to target savers and investors whilst they are at their most vulnerable.
The IA said: “they have seen scammers using techniques such as phishing and more fraudulent tactics as posing as police officers to try and defraud savers”.
Last year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported a 480% year on year increase in cyber attacks on UK regulated financial services firms.
Proofpoint, a security email fraud specialist said: “Criminals are using coronavirus to manipulate users through fraudulent activity”.
Proofpoint recorded 500,000 messages from 29th January 2020 to mid-March. 300,000 malicious URLs and 200,000 malicious attachments across more than 140 campaigns with coronavirus as the theme.
The scammers are using the pandemic to get savers and investors to withdraw money from their investments which have been indentified by investment managers and national authorities.
The IA also saw phising emails sent from scammers trying to steal personal and financial data, saying they were a trusted organisation. Scam texts had also been identifed where the scammer had claimed to be from government departments, investment managers, banks or established organisations claiming to be issuing fines related to Covid-19 or offering payments.
The IA said: “Anyone that suspects fraudulent activity must follow the advice of the National Crime Agency, contact their investment manager straight away and report it to Action Fraud”.
The FCA issued warnings last month to consumers making them aware of the increase in cyber risks and asking customers to be vigilant over the next few months. Scammers are very good at what they do and will find ways to get personal data and money from their victims, they target the vunerable and whilst people are at home during the pandemic they can be used as an easy target.
You have been warned. As ever, stay vigilant and if in doubt, do nothing to change your investments and talk to the FCA or contact us.