PFS makes Covid-19 fraud rally call

PFS makes Covid-19 fraud rally call
 Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society

The Personal Finance Society has called on advisers to act as a barrier of defence between fraudsters and unsuspecting victims during the coronavirus crisis. 

In an update today (July 2) the professional body published a guide flagging six warning signs of coronavirus investment scams as it warned the pandemic was leading to new types of fraudulent activity. 

It comes as millions fell victim to fraudsters during the global lockdown, particular pension scammers preying on the vulnerable amid economic confusion. 

The PFS warned scammers were now moving beyond traditional cold call tactics and could target victims via email, social media, word of mouth and even in person when seminars and exhibitions return.

The leaflet flags that scammers may share fake reviews and claim other clients have invested or want in on the deal in order to get savers to part with their cash

Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS, said: "The personal finance profession has a vital role to play in stopping scammers from getting their hands on their clients and the general public’s cash.

"A major event like coronavirus can initiate new types of scam activity and our profession will be able to spot scams quicker than the unsuspecting public.

"Financial advisers can play a key role in fighting financial crime and, together with the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator, we are urging consumers to be vigilant for scams that could appear over the coming weeks and months."

Mr Richards urged consumers to seek impartial advice from a regulated adviser if in doubt over an investment and warned "if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is".

In March the FCA warned of "sophisticated and opportunistic" scammers looking to capitalise on the confusion surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and the opportunity of more people being at home during lockdown. 

The regulator also urged consumers to be on high-alert for clone firms, those not authorised by the regulator, and scammers claiming to be from claims management companies.

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