Remain vigilant towards investment scams and clone firms

Fraudsters are increasingly looking for new ways to infiltrate the financial services market, and one way they have been attempting this is by ‘cloning’ a reputable firm. We are receiving an increasing amount of enquiries from clients and advisers who have been contacted by individuals purporting to be from WHIreland, when they are not.

The scam may begin by receiving brochures or product information in hard copy or PDF format with genuine contact details amended to the fraudsters’ own contact information. This type of scam is one that is being increasingly reported to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and there are steps you can take to ensure you do not fall foul:

1) Most reputable firms (including WHIreland) will never conduct cold calls or emails promoting their services or investment recommendations.
2) If you do receive information from what appears to be a reputable firm, question them directly before taking any further action. To ensure you are using genuine contact details for the firm, use an online search engine such as Google and visit the company’s official website.
3) If the activity does transpire to be suspicious do not engage with the clone firm any further and report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre (their website is available here), as well as directly to the FCA by calling their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

Finally, if you are contacted by anyone offering any type of investment product, you can use the Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘scam smart investor’ checker on their website available here.

More information is also available on the Financial Conduct Authority’s warning notice here.