Scam Emails - A Warning to Brokers

It has been brought to our attention at RWA that several of our clients have received emails purportedly from the FCA asking them to complete a compliance questionnaire by 28 May 2020. 

The FCA has confirmed that this email is a scam. Please do not click on the link provided and do not give out any personal or firm details. If received, the email should be forwarded to Phishing@fca.org.uk.

In a recent article, we reported that the FCA had issued a warning regarding coronavirus-related scams. Events such as the coronavirus pandemic unfortunately often result in a rise in fraudulent activity. Scammers are opportunistic and will exploit individuals – whether that be firms or consumers – when they are at their most vulnerable.

Many individuals across the UK will currently be working from home, but it remains as important as ever not to drop our guard and to remain vigilant to the risks posed by cyber-crime.

Scam emails, such as the one currently doing the rounds, highlight the importance of being aware of potentially fraudulent activity. Many scammers will claim to represent authorised firms or regulatory bodies to appear genuine. Emails often appear legitimate at first glance, but there are certain things you can look for to check whether they are genuine.

For example, check the sender’s email address – is it genuine? Are there any typos, grammatical errors or spelling mistakes in the email? What about the style – would the sender start an email ‘Hello’ or ‘Hi’?

These are all potential signs that an email may not be what it seems.

Unfortunately, scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods and sometimes it is hard to tell whether an email is legitimate or not. You may feel particular pressure if the email contains, for instance, an urgent request. However, this is another ‘red flag’.

If you are ever unsure, be cautious. Do not click on any links or open any attachments. Never give out personal details, such as bank details or passwords via email. Remember that a legitimate organisation will not ask you to provide this information.

It is better to be safe than sorry.

If in doubt about the origins of an email, check with the purported sender of the email directly, via other means – don’t reply to the email. Alternatively, if you receive anything you’re unsure of, speak to your RWA Business Manager who will be happy to help.

The FCA has previously provided guidance on scam emails and more information can be found here:

https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/avoid-scams-unauthorised-firms/fake-fca-emails-letters-phone-calls

https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/about-fca-warning-list

If you have any concerns regarding scam emails, please get in touch with your RWA Business Manager. You can also contact the RWA team via the helpdesk on 01604 709509 or helpdesk@rwagroup.co.uk.

About the author

Ash is Managing Director at RWA. He has over 15 years’ experience in the legal and compliance field and ten years in broker sales and leadership roles in national and global insurance firms.

He is highly skilled in the application of risk-based regulation, working closely with businesses at executive and board level to develop commercially viable, compliant systems and controls. Ash is adept in providing solutions-based interpretations of the FCA’s technical standards and facilitating the transfer of compliance skills and education needed for businesses to self-manage their own compliance and training needs.

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