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Quilter urges customers and advisers to be vigilant of financial scams during coronavirus crisis

7 April 2020

Quilter is today urging customers and advisers to be extra cautious about the risk of financial scams amid the coronavirus crisis.

A combination of factors means that customers are increasingly likely to be targeted by scammers during this pandemic.

Quilter has today launched a new ‘Stay safe’ webpage for customers and advisers concerned about the risk of fraud.

It encourages everyone to follow the Take Five campaign’s Stop; Challenge; and Protect to help tackle financial scams and offers practical advice for spotting and avoiding fraud.

Stop challenge protect logos

More information can be found on the Quilter website, which contains advice on how to spot a potential scam and precautions to take to avoid them.

The FCA’s business plan, released today, commits to helping consumers avoid the scams that spring up as the pandemic develops. The regulator warns that consumers who are scammed lose an average of 22 years’ pensions savings, almost three times their annual earnings.

Matt Burton, Chief Risk Officer at Quilter, says:

“This is a difficult time for all of us and of course everyone’s number one focus is on the imminent threat to public health, and the need to stay safe and protect themselves and others.

“But we also need to be cautious about the need to stay safe financially. Regrettably a small number of unscrupulous individuals are seeking to exploit the current situation for financial fraud. Currently COVID-19 themed phishing domains are being registered at a rate of 1,500 per day with around 250,000 spam emails being sent from them.

“Financial services companies are being more flexible to keep the economy going and allow customers to continue to complete transactions despite the current restrictions.

“This includes carrying out more transactions online, sending documentation by email rather than post, and accepting digital authorisations rather than a wet signature. These steps are needed where social distancing measures mean people cannot meet with their adviser face to face, for example. Whist such measures are necessary, they can increase the risk of fraud so it is crucial to be vigilant and know how to spot the signs of a scam.”

Case studies – new scams emerge

Scammers are increasingly adopting new techniques preying on the unusual steps being taken by the government and others during this period. Here are three to be wary of:

1. Phishing emails purporting to be from global bodies, such as the WHO, prompting you to read an attachment:
Example picture of phishing email purporting to be from WHO

2. Phishing emails claiming to offer a COVID-19 tax rebate:
Example of phishing email pretending to be from GOV.UK

3. ‘Phishing’ texts with fines for breaching the COVID-19 lockdown, asking you to call a number:
Example of smishing text pretending to be from GOV.UK

Top tips to stay safe from scams

Warning signs

How to protect yourself

Unexpected contact

If you get cold-called, the safest thing to do is to hang up and simply ignore it.

Requesting your PIN or password

A genuine organisation will never ask for these types of details. Never give them if prompted.

Requesting personal details or financial information

Never give them if it’s not for a service you want.

Unnecessary time pressure

Don’t be pressured into acting quickly – a genuine financial services firm won’t mind giving you time to think.

Receiving a ‘clone’ email that seems to be from a real firm

If unsure, always check the contact details on the FCA Register. You should also check the firm’s details with directory enquiries or Companies House to make sure they’re the same.

Unrecognisable email address

If you get an email, expand the pane at the top of the message and see exactly who it has come from – if it’s a scam, the email address of the sender may be filled with random numbers or be misspelled.

Unconfirmed changes on your

account

If you have any doubts about any changes to your account, check with your provider. Always use contact details you can trust, for example the phone number on your bank statement or policy documentation.

For more information contact

Tim Skelton-Smith
023 8091 6998 
078 2414 5076 
tim.skelton-smith@quilter.com

Michael Glenister
0207 7789 638  
07469 144 535
Michael.Glenister@quilterinvestors.com

Notes to Editors:

Quilter plc is a leading wealth management business in the UK and internationally, helping to create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Quilter plc oversees £95.3 billion in customer investments (as at 31 March 2020).

It has an adviser and customer offering spanning: financial advice; investment platforms; multi-asset investment solutions; and discretionary fund management.

The business is comprised of two segments: Advice and Wealth Management and Wealth Platforms.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial advice business, Quilter Financial Planning; the discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and Quilter Investors, the Multi-asset investment solutions business.

Wealth Platforms includes Old Mutual Wealth UK platform and Quilter International, including AAM Advisory in Singapore.

The Old Mutual Wealth Heritage life assurance business was acquired by ReAssure Group Plc on 2 January 2020.

Since its IPO in June 2018, Quilter plc’s businesses have progressively rebranded to Quilter, as follows: 

  • Quilter Financial Planning (previously Intrinsic)
  • Quilter Private Client Advisers (previously Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers)
  • Quilter Financial Advisers (previously Charles Derby Group)
  • Quilter Financial Adviser School
  • Quilter Cheviot
  • Quilter Investors
  • Old Mutual Wealth (becoming Quilter Investment Platform in 2020)
  • Quilter International (previously Old Mutual International)

This press release is for journalists only and should not be relied upon by financial advisers or customers.

Please remember that past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back any of the amount originally invested. Exchange rate changes may cause the value of overseas investments to rise or fall.

This communication is issued by Quilter plc.  Registered office: Millennium Bridge House, 2 Lambeth Hill, London EC4V 4AJ, United Kingdom. Registered number: 6404270.  Registered in England.