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How to spot a Covid 19 financial scam?

Thursday 3 September, 2020

UK banks and financial institutions have been warned to watch out for financial scams.  Below we have listed some of the main scams currently used to trick people out of their savings.  

For more information about financial scams read our recent article – Steve Cook, independent financial adviser - Tips to spot Covid 19 related scams.

1. Fake government emails offering grants of up to £7,500. Clicking on the links allows scammers to steal personal and financial information

2. Scam emails offering access to "Covid-19 relief funds"

3. Official-looking emails offering a "council tax reduction"

4. Benefit recipients are offered help in applying for universal credit, but fraudsters grab some of the payment as an advance for their "services"

5. Phishing emails claiming that the recipient has been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19

6. Fake adverts for non-existent coronavirus-related products

7. Fake emails and texts claiming to be from TV Licensing, offering six months free but asking people to update their payment information

8. Emails asking people to update their TV subscription services payment details by clicking on a link

9. Fake profiles on social media sites are used to manipulate victims into handing over their money

10. Fake investment opportunities are advertised on social media sites, encouraging victims to "take advantage of the financial downturn"

The regulators recommend 4 ways consumers can protect themselves from pension scams:

  • Reject unexpected pension offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone.
  • Check who you are dealing with before changing your pension arrangements – check the FCA Register or call the FCA helpline on 0800 111 6768 to see if the provider you are dealing with is authorised by the FCA.
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension.
  • Consider getting impartial information or advice, for example from your independent financial adviser or another trusted professional.

Simon Hawker, Managing Director, and independent financial adviser at Lonsdale Services, St Albans said: 

‘We work with clients to help them recognise any financial scams that affect their pensions, savings and investments.  Scams can take various forms and often look legitimate, but it is always best to be cautious if you receive information you are not sure about. We recommend that consumers are wary if they are investing in any products that have the warning signs of a scam.  For example, special offers, unusually high rates of return, phone calls, emails or letters from strangers.  Please follow the FCA guidelines and check the FCA’s website for current financial scams.  If you receive phone calls, emails or suspicious financial post please call your Lonsdale Wealth Management financial adviser or anyone in your financial planning team.  Our independent financial advisers will not action any emails for a fund withdrawal, without speaking to the client so we can check it was you who made the request.  For more information about how we protect our clients from financial scams read -  Neil Homer, independent financial adviser, Stafford – How Lonsdale protects clients against scammers.’

The Financial Conduct Authority has more information on scams. You can find this on their Covid-19 scams webpage


How to spot a financial scam

How to spot a financial scam

Simon Hawker, Lonsdale Services independent financial adviser St Albans and member of the St Albans financial planning team

Simon Hawker, Lonsdale Services independent financial adviser St Albans and member of the St Albans financial planning team

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