Advice giant Quilter has warned steps taken by financial services firms to offer greater flexibility amid the coronavirus lockdown could leave consumers increasingly vulnerable to fraud. 

In an update today, the firm urged advisers and consumers to be particularly vigilant for financial scams during the pandemic, as it warned fraudsters would seek to take advantage of the measures taken. 

Matt Burton, chief risk officer at Quilter, said while the priority was for individuals to protect their health, they also needed to stay safe financially. 

He said: “Financial services companies are being more flexible to keep the economy going and allow customers to continue to complete transactions despite the current restrictions.”

Mr Burton said measures intended to help business continue during the pandemic included carrying out more transactions online, sending documentation by email rather than post and accepting digital authorisations rather than a wet signature.

But he added: “These steps are needed where social distancing measures mean people cannot meet with their adviser face to face, for example.

“Whilst such measures are necessary, they can increase the risk of fraud, so it is crucial to be vigilant and know how to spot the signs of a scam.”

Mr Burton added: “Currently, Covid-19 themed phishing domains are being registered at a rate of 1,500 per day with around 250,000 spam emails being sent from them.” 

It comes as the Financial Conduct Authority yesterday said it was launching a £2.3m campaign to raise awareness of scams and high-risk investments in the industry. 

Last month, the regulator warned of “sophisticated and opportunistic scammers” looking to capitalise on the confusion surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. 

With the uncertainty currently surrounding a market in turmoil, the FCA also warned scammers could advise consumers to invest or transfer existing investments into non-standard and allegedly high-return investments. 

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