You may have read in the news over the past few days that a number of financial adviser firms and their clients have become unknowing victims of identity fraud.
Prudential has been made aware that organised crime gangs have targeted a number of adviser firms and their clients, using a new method of operating since at least June last year.Instead of contacting the product provider directly, the criminals are ‘hacking’ into clients personal email accounts to identify where they have invested. The gangs then use the email account to contact the customer’s adviser, providing bank details (and sometimes a false copy of a bank statement), asking them to encash some or all of the investment into this account. Once the funds have been deposited, the money is immediately withdrawn and is very difficult to recover.
There is no particular pattern as to which adviser firms and their clients have been targeted to date (either by location, where they bank or the type of investment etc) however, there are similarities as follows:
• The emails are in ‘broken’ English, and contain a number of basic grammar and spelling mistakes
• The funds are required urgently and the instruction asks for the money to be transferred via Telegraphic Transfer (or CHAPSCurrently we are only aware of these involving investments in Standard Life products. However, we believe this is not just restricted to the products of one provider and we will continue to assess our own situation.In summary
• Be mindful of email communications with your clients, especially those containing broken English and grammatical errors• Request sight of original bank statements (or other verification documentation)• If you have suspicions regarding client e-mail requests, phone and confirm the instructions with the customer.
WE ARE CONSCIOUS OF THIS SCAM AND SHOULD WE HAVE ENQUIRIES OF THIS NATURE, WE WILL CONTACT YOU PRIOR TO MAKING ANY TRANSFERSOUR SECURITY SYSTEMS ARE STRINGENT AND WE USE THE SAFEST AVAILABLE.