FCA Investigates 165 Covid-19 Scams

The FCA is currently investigating 165 suspected Covid-19 scams reported to it over the last five months. The scammers used a wide range of techniques to target financial services organizations. 

August 24, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – Financial services firms and banks have been targeted by fraudsters during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed it is investigating more than 150 scams related to coronavirus since the pandemic began.

FCA received reports of 165 Covid-19 Scams

The data obtained under a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by the Parliament Street think tank’s cyber research team, revealed that the total number of suspected scams reported to the FCA over the last five months has reached 165. During the outbreak of Covid-19, scammers have used email, phone calls, text messages, letters, and social media to target financial services organizations and banks by financial.

The Parliament Street think tank described one of the most common scams in which fraudsters have pretended to be from HMRC and targeted company owners seeking Covid-19 relief grants to help manage their finances throughout the crisis.

Other scams also include a targeted effort to steal the login credentials of HSBC customers with business accounts and seeking to obtain the passport details of financial services workers. Commenting Covid-19 scam, Max Worrall, the general markets sales manager at Encompass Corporation said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rapid increase in the number of financial crime scams entering circulation. There have been numerous reports of company owners and directors receiving highly realistic scam emails, requesting usernames, passwords, and bank details from workers.”

“These risks are a reminder of the threats posed to regulated firms seeking to enforce anti-money laundering (AML) measures and customer verification checks. These processes often involve reviewing personally identifiable information and documentation, something criminals are always seeking to get their hands on, by any means necessary.

Max finally added that it is important that companies have in place the “necessary anti-financial crime systems, as well as the ability to identify and confirm that the customer is who they say they are.”

Crypto scams surge amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Crypto scams continue to rise amid the global pandemic across countries. Earlier, the Attorney General of California issued a warning against the rise of crypto scams amid the Covid-19 pandemic. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted:

“Fraudsters often rely on the excitement of innovative industries to persuade people to offer up their cash in hopes of earning far more in return.”  

There are several types of crypto scams that have become frequent. They include fake giveaways, sextortion, fake exchanges, fake ICO’s, bitcoin recovery, video scams, as well as pyramid schemes. For example, accounts of several famous people on Twitter were hacked to solicit bitcoins from their followers.

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