March 31, 2020

Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

by eswalton in COVID19, Financial Planning

We continue to work hard and support you through these difficult times. We believe Financial advice is key, and want to keep communicating with you regarding any issues that may arise.

A major event such as Coronavirus may cause new kinds of scam operation. You may already have seen stories of fraudulent activities around selling face masks and hand sanitizer.

Fraudulent behavior is more complex when it comes to financial services. In addition it mostly occurs after the initial shock of a significant incident.

With that in mind, we advise our clients to be cautious about any scams that may emerge in the months ahead.

Scammers are creative, opportunistic and in many cases may try to get personal information or money from the victims. They tend to target people who are more vulnerable or prone to fraud, particularly in the current environment where there are many more people at home.

What tactics to look out for:

  • Exploiting short-term financial concerns, scammers may ask you to hand over an upfront fee – usually between £25 and £450 – when applying for a loan or credit that you never get. For example a loan fee fraud or advance fee fraud.
  • ‘Good cause’ scams. This is where investment is sought for good causes such as the production of sanitizer, manufacture of personal protection equipment (PPE) or new drugs to treat coronavirus – with scammers using the promise of high returns to entice consumers.
  • Using the uncertainty around stock markets, scammers may advise you to invest or transfer existing investments into non-standard investments.
  • Clone firms – firms must be authorized by us to sell, promote, or advise on the sale of insurance products. Some scammers will claim to represent authorized firms to appear genuine. In particular, be aware of life insurance firms that may be cloned.
  • Scammers may contact you claiming to be from a Claims Management Company (CMC), insurance company, or your credit card provider. They may say they can help you recuperate losses by submitting a claim, for the cost of a holiday or event such as a wedding canceled due to coronavirus. They will ask you to send them some money or your bank details.
  • Cold calls, emails, texts, or WhatsApp messages stating that your bank is in trouble due to the coronavirus crisis and pushing you to transfer your money to a new bank with alternative banking details.

How to protect yourself:

  • Use the Financial Services Register and Warning List to check who you are dealing with.
  • Reject offers that come out of the blue.
  • Beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online.
  • Do not click links or open emails from senders you don’t already know.
  • Avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision.
  • If a firm calls you unexpectedly, use the contact details on the Register to check that you’re dealing with the genuine firm
  • Do not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details).
  • We understand that these scams can be alluring or worse: difficult to turn down, if they are trying to tempt you, are intimidating you with sob stories.

In conclusion, if you have any uncertainty, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. One of our team will be more than happy to deal with the issue for you.


Scammers use urgency to cause panic amongst their victims.

This causes victims to act without thinking and reference to others.

Take some time.

Call us for a “sense check” or to intervene on your behalf.