A fraudster has approached investors purporting to be from Prudential, offering a “guaranteed growth rate Isa” through “official looking letters and brochures”.
The Financial Conduct Authority yesterday (September 30) updated its warning over a clone of Prudential, saying fraudsters were using details of the pensions and insurance giant to try to convince consumers they work for a genuine firm.
The City watchdog added: “Be aware that scammers may give out other false details or mix these with some correct details of the registered firm.
“They may change contact details over time to new email addresses, telephone numbers or physical addresses.”
Email addresses used by fake Prudential sites included email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
An adviser also took to Twitter to warn of the scam. Kusal Ariyawansa, IFA at Appleton Gerrard Private Wealth Management, tweeted: “This chap is sending official looking letters (& brochures) to people claiming he's providing a guaranteed growth rate ISA from Prudential.
“He's even provided a fake FCA number. One for [the FCA] to take immediate action against. Will you take long?”
The regulator said consumers should always check a firm’s details on the FCA register, as fraudsters using a fake firm reference number, such as in this case, would be picked up when there was a mismatch.
A spokesperson from Prudential said its fraud team, which was dedicated to identifying and taking scams down, were looking into this particular case.
Prudential said it had taken “key actions” to address financial industry scams such as phishing and cold calls that have proliferated in recent months across the industry.
It has enhanced its monitoring, with the aim of identifying, reporting and shutting down scams purporting to represent the brand, worked with regulators to share information and communicated widely with consumers on how best to spot scams.
Last month (September 16), figures from UK Finance showed impersonation scams had almost doubled in the first half of 2020 as criminals looked to exploit the pandemic.
Earlier this year the regulator warned of "sophisticated and opportunistic" scammers looking to capitalise on the confusion surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and in July, the Personal Finance Society said the pandemic was leading to new types of fraudulent activity.
The FCA spent more than £300,000 in the first half of this year fighting fraudulent and misleading adverts online.
What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.