Quilter has launched a new online tool for reporting suspected impersonation scams directly to the firm’s financial crime team.The tool will allow anyone who believes they have been exposed to, or have fallen victim to, an impersonation scam that features a clone of Quilter’s branding or marketing materials to report their concerns directly to Quilter.
Information provided through the tool will be received by Quilter who will assess the legitimacy of the investment proposition in each individual case and provide a response directly to the consumer the next working day offering support and guidance on next steps.
Investment scams that impersonate a regulated financial services firm have proliferated in recent years, increasing by 634 per cent since 2010. Impersonation scams now account for 37 per cent of all FCA warnings issued since 2010.
Like many firms in the financial services sector, Quilter’s brand has been used by sophisticated organised criminals in an attempt to ‘sell’ fake investment products online, predominantly through paid advertisements residing on internet search engines.
The launch of the new tool comes as the government and the FCA have committed to work together to tackle financial scams advertised and promoted on search engines after calls from Quilter and many others to include scams within forthcoming Online Harms legislation.
Matt Burton, Chief Risk Officer at Quilter, says: “The internet is awash with fake investment scams promoted on search engines and social media platforms that purport to offer high returns with limited risk, many featuring the brands of well-known financial services firms.
“We have introduced a scam reporting tool such that if any consumer sees an investment opportunity online that purports to use any of Quilter’s brands, but is unsure whether or not it is a scam, they can report it directly to our financial crime team who will be able to verify the investment proposition, or offer guidance on actions to take to recovery any money lost and avoid a follow-up scam.
“Investment scams can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, both financially and emotionally, and there is clear evidence to show that mental health problems and scams are inextricably linked. We are determined to do as much as we can to reduce the risk to consumers by making it easier to verify an investment proposition that uses our branding online.
“We have seen impersonation scams skyrocket in the past few years, and so we continue to urge the government to establish a legally binding framework that prevents fake websites and ads promoting investment products from appearing online. This can be achieved through the government’s forthcoming Online Harms legislation, or their Online Advertising Programme.”