The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is investigating more than 150 coronavirus-related scams launched since the outbreak began, according to official figures.
After issuing a Freedom of Information Act request, think tank Parliament Street revealed that financial services organisations and banks had reported 165 suspected scams over the past five months.
In one of the scams, fraudsters pretended to be from HM Revenue and Customs and targeted company owners seeking Covid-19 relief grants to help manage their finances throughout the crisis.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rapid increase in the number of financial crime scams entering circulation,” said Max Worrall, general markets sales manager at the Encompass Corporation. “There have been numerous reports of company owners and directors receiving highly realistic scam emails, requesting usernames, passwords, and bank details from workers.
“These risks are a reminder of the threats posed to regulated firms seeking to enforce Anti-Money Laundering (AML) measures and customer verification checks. These processes often involve reviewing personally identifiable information and documentation, something criminals are always seeking to get their hands on, by any means necessary.
“It is therefore vital that companies have in place the necessary anti-financial crime systems, as well as the ability to identify and confirm that the customer is who they say they are.”
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