Scams  

Advisers share tips on fighting financial fraud

Advisers share tips on fighting financial fraud
 Photo: Gratisography via Pexels

Encouraging trust, spreading awareness and sharing information about scams: these are some of the ways advisers have helped protect clients and prospective clients against financial fraud.

Following news that more men have fallen prey to financial scams than women in recent years, according to data analysed by the Phoenix Group, advisers took to Twitter to share tips on defending Brits against crooks attempting to defraud them out of their hard-earned cash.

Uinsure's David Smith, tweeting at @LifeMadeFun, said: "One way is to have a fully secure branded messaging app so they know only to take financial signposting from their adviser in that channel only."

Kathryn Knowles, co-founder of Cura Financial Services, said she took action in April last year when scammers started targeting vulnerable Britons during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, attempting to sell often inappropriate insurance policies by preying on people's fears. 

Knowles said: "I sent out a 'five top tips to spot a scammer' in April of last year." During 2020 and 2021, Cura has also been heavily involved in educating clients and others about the prevalence of scams through podcasts and media commentary.

Neil Liversidge, principal of West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, has been "actively fighting fraud for years".

He told FTAdviser: "Like most financial businesses we fight defensively by educating our clients as to fraudsters’ methods. Unlike most though, we are also on the offensive, aiming to frustrate, help apprehend and even trap fraudsters at every opportunity."

The website has an anti-crime mission statement page, where it reports some of the firm's successes, but Liversidge said he is not stopping there: "Now we have a simple idea to turn the tables on fraudsters: Turn the public into bounty-hunters."

He is urging clients and others to "string" the fraudster along, identifying accounts which WRPFS can report to the banks with whom they are held, in order to have them closed. 

Relationships

For most advisers, a lot of the 'protection' involves building up trust and long-term relationships with clients so the adviser becomes the first port of call when a client believes they have been approached by a scammer.

Scott Nicoll, adviser at Scotland's GKD Shepherds, said: "Know your client, have their trust and always make sure before they do something that is unusual get them to call you to discuss as their adviser and friend.

"Financial advice is not always about funds under management."

This was echoed by Daniel Williams, adviser with Morgan Williams, and chartered financial planner Peter Davies, who stressed the importance of educating clients and others to empower them with the knowledge needed to make the right financial decisions. 

Williams said: "Empower them with the knowledge to be able to understand what a scam is, how to spot one and how they operate. Then most of the time they won't find themselves in a position to have to say no."