Warning bells have been sounded over scammers targeting financial advisers by sending a fake email purporting to be from the City watchdog.
The email, sent to advisers over the past few days and seen by FTAdviser, looks like a due diligence request from the Financial Conduct Authority.
It says: “We require you to review and answer the relevant questions in the attached questionnaire and return as early as possible, but no later than 28 May 2020.
“Also, fill in the profile section with your up-to-date details.”
The email is sent from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Russell Facer, director at ThreeSixty compliance services, said a number of its adviser clients had received the email.
He said: “Calls from our clients started coming in yesterday afternoon. This particular scam is strange as it has no links or attachments but it does have a mobile number, which may be a high rate number.
“We advise people to go back to the FCA’s contact centre. Such emails often have an ‘urgency’ message so if they do, definitely pick up the phone and contact whoever the email is purportedly from and check it is legitimate.”
Mike Jordan, an IFA at Jordan Financial Management, received the email and checked with his compliance provider.
He said: “No adviser wants to mistakenly ignore a request from the FCA and that is what makes firms vulnerable to emails such as this.
“We are more likely to respond to an email like this than something that appeared to be a scam from another source. I hope nobody has been caught out by it.”
The FCA pointed to its guidance on fake emails, websites, letters and phone calls on its website.
This states: “Some fraudsters contact people and firms through emails, letters and on the phone, claiming to be from the FCA or using the name of FCA employees to make them seem genuine.
“We send emails from addresses ending in @fca.org.uk and @fcanewsletters.org.uk, but be aware that fraudsters can ‘clone’ these email addresses to make their emails seem genuine.”
The regulator said anyone in doubt about the authenticity of contact from the FCA should call its helpline on 0800 111 6768.
FTAdviser has recently reported how financial services regulation needed reform in order to beat the scammers while in April regulators came together to warn rising levels of vulnerability caused by the virus lockdown could see more savers targeted by scammers.
Read our investigative piece: How the pension scammers are getting away with it
Just yesterday, figures showed 5.2m people in the UK had fallen victim to, or knew someone who had been duped by, a financial scam since the beginning of the virus outbreak.