Fraudsters posing as customers have been targeting advisers and protection providers in a scam to drive calls to a high-rate telephone number.
The fraud starts with advisers receiving a call from someone claiming to be interested in taking out a protection policy, requesting a call back to a ‘personal’ number beginning 070.
When the adviser returns the call, the fraudsters use delaying tactics to lengthen the call duration, including searching for misplaced documents and diverting the conversation away from the protection fact-find.
Industry sources say the perpetrators have even gone as far as submitting false applications for a life policy, leading to a further call back from the provider.
PruProtect was contacted several times by the bogus callers and has alerted other providers to the scam.
PruProtect head of account development Phil Jeynes says: “We were aware of this potentially fraudulent activity immediately, as our internal monitoring systems flagged the contact numbers as suspicious.
“Our fraud prevention team have shared this knowledge with colleagues around the industry who may have been targeted, as well as with our internal staff.”
Charges for the phone calls can be as high as 50p per minute, depending on the line used to make the call.
London & Country sales director Michael Aldridge says his firm has been contacted at least three times by the fraudulent callers.
He says: “Clearly we wouldd urge all intermediaries to be alert to this scam and to put the appropriate checks in place.
“Where appropriate it would be worth considering blocking calls to such numbers.”
Plan Money director Peter Chadborn says: “While we haven’t been hit by these fraudsters, we do appreciate that others in the industry are sharing details with each other to prevent other firms from being susceptible to the same tricks.”
LifeQuote sales and marketing director Neil McCarthy says: “There seems to be some fraudulent activity in the market targeting financial firms who operate with telephone call back facilities.
“There is a risk that a call to these numbers will be charged at an extortionate rate.
“It’s extremely positive to note that we are working closely with insurers and our partners, and steps have been taken internally to act appropriately with any suspicious numbers.”
Roy McLoughlin, partner, Master Adviser
There are always going to be fraudsters in the market, and as always advisers need to be vigilant. At our firm we request client details for verification before calling back, as a rule. Advisers must be diligent in protecting the security of their clients, which is sacrosanct.
Alan Lakey, partner, Highclere Financial Services
Nobody is going to trawl around to find exactly which telephone numbers are potentially harmful or might charge extortionate rates on so in some regards you could say that any of us is vulnerable to such attacks.