FCA impersonated in scam email to advisers

FCA impersonated in scam email to advisers

A scam email has been doing the rounds claiming to be from the Financial Conduct Authority and offering recipients a "guaranteed chance to earn" on crypto assets. 

The email claims to be from the FCA, featuring the regulator's branding and logo alongside that of the Prudential Regulation Authority, and encouraging the idea of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin increasing in value in the near future. 

Following a subject line titled "Guaranteed chance to earn" the email reads: "Bitcoin is still a long way off its peak price of $20,000, which it reached in 2017, but some cryptocurrency experts believe it could hit an even higher value by 2020." 

Recipients are then asked to click on a button, coloured in the FCA's distinctive maroon branding, which reads "Click her" [sic].

Dominic Thomas, founder of Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers, said he received the email five times over the weekend and took to Twitter this morning to warn the regulator. 

Mr Thomas said he suspects the email is a virus, suggesting it "reveals the extent of the problem with cheap and easy new media 'advertising'". 

The FCA has since confirmed the email has been flagged with the relevant team at the watchdog. 

The FCA has previously warned consumers of the pitfalls of investing in cryptocurrencies, stating assets such as Bitcoin were not regulated in the UK and it was unlikely consumers would be entitled to make complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service or seek redress from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if investments were to go wrong.

Scam communications claiming to be from the FCA are relatively common and guidance on the regulator's website warns consumers "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". 

The FCA said: "Keep in mind that we would never contact members of the public asking for money or your bank account details.

"The correspondence is likely to be linked to organised fraud and we strongly advise you not to respond to the criminals in any way.

"Look for signs that the email, letter or phone call may not be from us, such as it listing a mobile or overseas contact phone number, an email address from a hotmail or gmail account, or a foreign PO Box number.

"Scam emails or letters often contain spelling mistakes and poor grammar." 

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