Investment scams are becoming more sophisticated and costly to investors, suggests a new survey from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The regulator reported a rise in “screen sharing” scams, which involve investors being duped into downloading software that gives the scammers remote access to their computers.
“Using platforms including Teams, TeamViewer and Zoom, screen sharing scams not only involve consumers sharing their financial data – but scammers have also been able to embed themselves in victims’ digital devices to access online banking and investment details,” the FCA said.
The regulator reported that its survey of 2,000 investors found that while 91% said they would never share their bank PIN with a stranger, most (85%) wouldn’t see a request to use or download software as a warning sign that “someone was seeking to gain illegal access to personal information on your device.”
It also found that almost half (47%) of investors fail to identify a possible screen-sharing scam.
The FCA noted that greater use of video conferencing and remote platforms during the pandemic has increased familiarity with requests for screen sharing that scammers are exploiting.
“Investment scams can happen over many months, but sharing your screen without making the proper checks can change everything in an instant,” said Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.
“Once scammers gain to your screen, they have complete control. That means access to your sensitive banking and investment information, the freedom to browse at their leisure, and the ability to take whatever details they want,” he said.
“It’s incredibly difficult to get money back once lost in this way.”