Standard Life has warned advisers to be aware of fraudsters attempting to impersonate clients after four IFA firms and their clients were scammed, resulting in money being taken from Standard Life products.
The company says organised criminal gangs have hacked clients’ email accounts and used them to identify where they have invested money.
The fraudulent gangs then used the email accounts to contact the customers’ financial adviser, providing bank details and asking them to encash their investment to a new account.
Standard Life says some of its clients have been targeted by the scam, with four savers seeing money fraudulently withdrawn in the past week.
It has issued a note warning Standard Life staff and adviser clients to be alert to the scam and suggests advisers verify email instructions over the phone with clients.
It warns advisers to be cautious of email communications with broken English and grammatical errors, adding that the fraudulent instructions typically request money to be transferred via telegraphic transfer or Chaps.
The warning reads: “The purpose of this communication is to raise awareness to all staff.
“We all have a responsibility to protect our customers’ assets and assist financial advisers any way we can by ensuring any requests received are indeed genuine.”
Derbyshire Booth managing director Greg Heath says: “It is a concern that advisers have been caught out by this. However, it is not surprising as we have received warnings previously and have seen the level of targeting by these criminal gangs increasing, particularly over the past two years. We take the approach of always calling the client to check any instruction.”