The incidences of online fraud are increasing as more people work from home and/or are more technology driven. Anyone is vulnerable and, if care is not exercised, can be caught up in scams often without realising early enough to avoid them. Customers of the insurance industry have been targeted by fraudsters via:
· Phishing emails – which aim to manipulate people into disclosing sensitive information or open malicious attachments which capture or disrupt their data
· SMS Texts – which are usually requests falsely claiming to be legitimate insurance companies and offer for a fee, or charge, to help the Customer with Policy alterations and to submit or handle claims for them
· Phonecalls or Social Media – which are communications intending to elicit personal or financial information, or money, from unsuspecting victims, often by “ghost brokers”. Ghost brokers are professional fraudsters selling forged or invalid and discounted insurance policies to unsuspecting customers. They usually advertise their services online or within local communities, typically claiming to be able to secure a cheap insurance policy, while pretending to work for, or on behalf of, a legitimate insurance company. Often fronted by seemingly genuine websites, they are well organised and easy to be fooled by.
Frauds can be related to all types of insurance – motor, injury, liability, property, life and pensions. For pensions in particular, fraudsters will typically make unsolicited contact regarding existing pension plans and will offer various ways in which Customers can either enhance their pension pot or access the funds therein.
Customers should be alert to any such communication, including, but not limited to:
· Requests for money to alter a Policy which you have not initiated
· Requests for you to provide your Policy details for any reason
· Requests for you to provide financial information for any reason
· Notification that someone is taking over another Provider’s policy, which does not come from your own Insurer or Broker
· Offers of free reviews of your pension plan
· Offers of ways in which you can access your pension fund before retirement date