Phishing Scams - COVID-19

We have received the following information from one of our investment partners is certainly worth sharing……

It has come to our attention that criminals are using the current situation to exploit both working practices and individuals.

These scams are all opportunistic, by clicking these links you run the risk of leaking your username and password or having malicious software installed on your personal devices. Think before you click and we encourage you to talk to your clients, friends, relatives and vulnerable members of your own community who may fall victim to these criminals. 

Six tips to protect yourself from push payment fraud

1. Use known or independently sourced telephone numbers

There has been an increase in COVID-19 related emails. Hackers can change the account details included in a communication. If you are due to receive an invoice by email, contact the sender on a known or independently-sourced number before making a payment (not one contained in the body of an email). This way you can ensure you are paying to the correct bank details.

2. Beware of requests to move money to a safe account

Fraudsters have been calling individuals and impersonating the police, financial institutions, or even the World Health Organisation (WHO) and NHS. The purpose of the calls is to obtain personal details about you, or convince you to move money to a ‘safe account’. Do not make a transfer before checking with your bank on a registered number, even if the caller tells you not to inform your bank.

3. Check the FCA Warning List before making an investment

The recent drop in the Bank of England base rate means investment opportunities may seem more attractive. Fraudsters know this. Reputable financial institutions will not contact you with unsolicited investment opportunities. Seek independent advice before making a decision on an investment, even if you’re told it’s only available for a short time. Find out more from the Money Advice Service

4. Do not click email links

Be wary of unsolicited e-mails that appear to be from a ‘known’ organisation such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) or NHS. Criminals often replicate emails from these organisations to urge you to provide personal information by clicking on a link or downloading a document. The information harvested can be used to impersonate you.

5. Research online sellers

Shortages of medical and essential supplies in shops is leading to more online orders. This has resulted in an increase of purchase scams, where criminals advertise goods they don’t have and keep the payment. Always conduct your own research into a seller before making a purchase and avoid buying essentials from shops you are not familiar with. 

6. Verify the identity of a payee

No matter how well you think you know a payee, think twice before making a payment. Some individuals have been asking for financial donations while posing as charities pretending to assist with the COVID-19 emergency. Research causes before making a payment, and call to confirm details of their work on an independently-sourced number.