At Brown Shipley we take the safety of our clients’ money and investments seriously. Unfortunately, in these challenging times, criminals are taking advantage of the current circumstances, and capitalising on people’s vulnerabilities and fears, due to COVID-19. Whilst the number of fraud cases may not have increased overall, we are seeing a significant number of scams, in relation to COVID-19.
Brown Shipley is here to support our clients through these challenging times, and we want to help keep you safe from fraud.
Below are some examples of the different types of scams that we have recently become aware of. Please make yourself aware of these scams, and always remain alert, and look out for anything suspicious.
Emails offering a COVID-19 cure: these type of emails often take you through to pages which will ask for your personal details and try to get you to put your bank details in to pay for a fake cure.
COVID-19 test kits: whilst it has become increasingly more difficult to purchase some items online, such as hand sanitiser or face-masks, you should be wary of buying these items online, especially if they claim to have COVID-19 test kits available. It’s likely you will provide your bank details to fraudsters and the items will never arrive.
Fake organisation emails: we are seeing a high number of fraudulent emails claiming to be from genuine organisations such as HMRC or the World Health Organisation. If you receive any emails like this, you should check the email address is genuine. These emails will often imply that you can claim a free tax refund and try to get you to provide your personal details.
Fake PayPal emails: as people are using more online payments, due to the current circumstances, we’re seeing a number of fraudulent emails pretending to be from companies like PayPal or Apple Pay. These emails say that your details have been compromised and to unblock your account you should click on the links within the emails. The links then take you through to fake pages, where they will try to get your account log-in details.
Acts of kindness: whilst communities are pulling together to support the most vulnerable, be mindful of offers of help, such as companies saying that they will help you with your shopping. Only use recommended local community support groups and never give you card or PIN to anyone.
You’re a victim of fraud: criminals will often pretend to be from your bank or even the Police to make you feel vulnerable and at risk from losing your money. They may say that you’ve become a victim of fraud and that you need to transfer your money to a ‘safe’ account. Remember, no bank or the Police will ever ask you to move your money to a ‘safe’ account.
Donations: a number of fake emails have been circulating, asking for donations to help the most vulnerable If you do want to help and make a donation, please only support registered charities. Go to the website of your choice using your web browser and never click on links in an email.
Follow our tops tips, to help keep you safe from fraud:
Do not open, forward or respond to emails if you don’t recognise the sender or you suspect it could be a scam.
Do not open up any attachments in emails sent to you from unknown sources. Contact the company first to check the email is legitimate.
Do not click on any links if you think the email is suspicious, including “unsubscribe” links. If using a pc, hover your cursor over the link to check the URL destination matches with the company who is sending it. On an IOS device, by clicking on the “From” details you can also check the sender of the email.
Set filters to allow emails from a trusted source and likewise, block any emails that may look suspicious.
Don’t reveal your personal details - never give out your personal account information or PIN.
Don’t feel rushed - fraudsters often try and create a sense of urgency to try and get your personal details. Take your time and don’t let them rush you into giving information that you are not prepared to provide.
Be vigilant, especially with unsolicited calls – never be afraid to say no. You can always take the time to seek advice before moving forward.
Who to contact.
If you suspect that you have become a victim of fraud, contact the relevant bank or financial institution straight away.
In leading the response to phishing emails, the National Cyber Security Centre have set up a new Suspicious Email Reporting Service. SERS allows NCSC, Police and Action Fraud to analyse and track phishing attacks and any malware involved, helping prevent future cyber attacks. This has already proved successful with 395 phishing sites being removed from the internet within a week of launching!
If you would like to find out more information about how to protect yourself against fraud, do take a look at the following websites which offer straight-forward and impartial advice to help protect you against financial fraud:
The information contained in this article is defined as non-independent research because it has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research, including any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of this information.
How to Use this Information
This article contains general information only and is not intended to constitute financial or other professional advice or a recommendation that any recipient of this information should make any particular investment decision. Always consult a suitably qualified financial advisor on any specific financial matter or problem that you have.
Except insofar as liability under any statute cannot be excluded, neither Brown Shipley nor any employee or associate of them accepts any liability (whether arising in contract, tort, negligence or otherwise) for any error or omission in this article or for any resulting loss or damage whether direct, indirect, consequential or otherwise suffered by the recipient of this article.
Investing in stocks either directly or indirectly carries investment risk. The value of equity based investments may go down as well as up over time due to factors such as, market volatility, interest rates, and general economic conditions.
Investing puts your capital at risk. Lending is subject to status.