FCA draws attention to screen sharing scam with new campaign

The UK’s financial watchdog has announced the launch of its ‘ScamSmart’ campaign, designed to raise awareness about “increasingly sophisticated” investment scam tactics.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed that a 59-year-old woman lost £48,000 to scammers using screen sharing software to take over her computer and access her banking history.

The regulator said this was one of 2,142 similar cases that it has seen since July 2020.

According to the organisation, more than £25 million has been lost to scammers using this tactic between 1 January 2021 and 31 March this year and across the space of a year there has been an 86 per cent increase in cases.

Research from the authority shows that while 51 per cent of investors would check its warning list before making an investment, a further 47 per cent would not see a request to use software or an app to access their device as a red flag.

“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, 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. It can affect any investor, no matter how experienced. It’s incredibly difficult to get money back once lost in this way, but there are ways to protect yourself: don’t share your screen with anyone, as legitimate firms will not ask you to do this and check out our Scamsmart website for advice on how to avoid being scammed.”

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