Financial services firms and banks have been targeted by fraudsters during the coronavirus pandemic

The FCA is currently investigating 165 suspected Covid-19-related scams that have been reported to it over the last five months.

Think tank Parliament Street obtained this data under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

The data collection exercise further revealed that the types of scams that have been popular during the Covid-19 pandemic are typically communicated using emails, phone calls, text messages, letters and social media.

Scams have included fraud actors pretending to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), targeting company owners who are seeking Covid-19 relief grants to help manage their finances during the pandemic.

Other scams have seen fraudsters attempt to steal the log-in details of HSBC customers who have business accounts, as well as trying to obtain the passport details for financial services staff.

Max Worrall, general markets sales manager at Encompass Corporation, said these types of scams should act as a reminder to regulated firms and encourage them to implement anti-financial crime systems.

He said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rapid increase in the number of financial crime scams entering circulation.

“There have been numerous reports of company owners and directors receiving highly realistic scam emails, requesting usernames, passwords, and bank details from workers.

“These risks are a reminder of the threats posed to regulated firms seeking to enforce Anti-Money Laundering (AML) measures and customer verification checks. These processes often involve reviewing personally identifiable information and documentation, something criminals are always seeking to get their hands on, by any means necessary.

“It is therefore vital that companies have in place the necessary anti-financial crime systems, as well as the ability to identify and confirm that the customer is who they say they are.”