Fraud and Scams are increasingly becoming more prevalent and sophisticated, particularly during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
The Financial Conduct Authority (regulator for the financial services industry) have reported for some time that fraudsters are ‘cloning’ genuine financial services firms in an effort to defraud people.
Recently, one of the financial services firms that fraudsters have cloned is Sterling ISA Managers Limited.
What the FCA advise
- Treat all unexpected calls, emails and text messages with caution. Don’t assume they’re genuine, even if the person seems to know some basic information about you.
- Don’t be pressured into acting quickly. A genuine bank or financial services firm won’t mind waiting if you want time to think.
- Never give out your bank account or credit card details unless you are certain who you are dealing with.
- If you’re buying a financial product such as a loan, insurance, investment or pension, only deal with a FCA-authorised firm – check the Register to see if the firm is registered. Always access the Register from the FCA website, rather than through links in emails or on a firm’s website (it might be part of the scam).
- Double-check the URL and contact details of a firm in case it’s a ‘clone firm’ pretending to be a real firm, such as your bank or a genuine investment firm.
- Check the list of unauthorised firms and individuals the FCA have received complaints about. If the firm isn’t on our list, don’t assume it’s legitimate – it may not have been reported to us yet.
- Check your bank account and credit card statements regularly.
- If a firm does not appear on the FCA Register but claims it is, contact the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.
If you think you have been scammed
You can report the firm or scam to the FCA by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 or using their reporting form.
For financial products the FCA don’t regulate, or if you’ve lost money in a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website.