Scammers continue to target businesses, according to FCA data

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued more than 1,000 scam warnings this year, as fraudsters continue to prey on businesses in distress. 

The Financial Times has reported that data collated by the consultancy group Lang Cat showed that the FCA had sent out 1,003 scam alerts in 43 weeks by the end of October. 

It is understood that the FCA is currently investigating more than 150 coronavirus-related scams. In September alone, during a peak of reports, it announced it had identified 43 scams, clones and unauthorised firms in just under seven days. 

In many cases, the fraudsters have pretended to be from HM Revenue & Customs offering support to vulnerable business owners with the Government’s COVID-19 financial support measures, such as grants. 

The majority of the scams have been conducted via email, phone call, text and social media. The particular focus on businesses, rather than individuals, is a relatively new development which highlights that many companies are in desperate need of financial support. 

Mike Barrett, Consulting Director at the Lang Cat said: “I think this is the most important issue facing our sector, and everyone, advisers, providers, the media, need to play their part to solve it.

“With over 1000 warnings year to date it’s clear that the problem is out of control, and the FCA simply can’t cope with the scale, not least since many of these warnings are directed against firms who sit outside their regulatory perimeter.

“Somehow we’ve got to address this issue, especially as more and more people are likely to become financially vulnerable over the coming months.”

If you or a client are targeted by a scammer it can have a devastating effect on your financial stability. If you would like advice on financial security, please contact us