Wealth management and Financial Planning giant Quilter has launched a new online tool for reporting suspected impersonation scams.
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, can use the tool to report their concerns directly to the firm.
The online tool will report suspected scams directly to Quilter’s financial crime team, 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 surged in recent years, increasing by 634% since 2010. Impersonation scams accounted for 37% of all FCA warnings issued between 2010 and December 2020.
Quilter’s brand has been used by scammers in the past in an attempt to sell fake investment products online, predominantly through paid adverts on internet search engines and social media.
Mike Burton, chief risk officer at Quilter, said: “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.”