Beware Scammers Taking Advantage of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Advice from Proposito’s Huw Jones

Huw Jones

The Coronavirus pandemic is leading to a proliferation of scammers trying to extract money from people, financial planner Proposito is warning.

The Cirencester-based company said with more people spending time at home, and working or browsing online, cyber criminals were taking the opportunity to strike.

“The current crisis is leading scammers to try to, for example, persuade people to withdraw funds from their investments,” said Huw Jones, Managing Director of Proposito. “Fake emails are being sent, claiming to be from organisations like HMRC or the Financial Conduct Authority, which can seem very convincing.

“Fraudsters also set up clone websites which look genuine and, again, mislead people and encourage them to part with their money. It’s appalling that criminals will use a serious situation such as the pandemic to their advantage.”

The Proposito team are advising their clients on how to avoid being caught out. This includes being cautious about opening emails or clicking on links, without total certainty they are genuine.

“We are aware of many scams via text and phone call, where fraudsters will again claim to be from HMRC or a bank. They make promises of a payment related to the economic measures put in place to ease the impact of the pandemic, then ask for bank login details so they can transfer the money. Again, legitimate organisations would never do this.”

Huw added another scam was a series of COVID-19 quizzes, popping up on social media, claiming to test people’s knowledge about Coronavirus but also asking questions about personal details, such as email addresses, pets’ names, date of birth etc. All this information harvesting is giving criminals the tools they need to hack into or clone accounts.

At Proposito, clients’ data is safely stored in the cloud and the company uses a secure encrypted messaging system to exchange documents rather than sending emails with attachments. The firm has an app for smartphone and tablet that it uses for secure messaging.

For more information about Proposito Financial Planning visit https://proposito.co.uk/, email Huw on Huw.Jones@proposito.co.uk or call the Cirencester office on 01285 708444.

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